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Physical Oceanography Division


Oceanographers frequently decompose the total oceanic circulation into two components: a wind-driven component existing primarily in the horizontal plane and a thermohaline-driven component existing primarily in the vertical plane (also called the meridional overturning circulation, MOC). Although this decomposition is a simplification of the dynamics of the motion in the ocean (the two components are not separable in the complete equations of motion), it provides a framework for describing responses of the ocean to different surface forcing functions. All the benchmarks presently available are shown in Figure 1.

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Last Updated: 05/23/02