Beta spiral

From Glossary of Meteorology
Revision as of 16:32, 26 January 2012 by imported>Perlwikibot (Created page with " {{TermHeader}} {{TermSearch}} <div class="termentry"> <div class="term"> == beta spiral == </div> <div class="definition"><div class="short_definition">In [[oceanograp...")
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)

beta spiral

In oceanography, the turning of the current vector that arises from stratified geostrophic flow when density is conserved following a parcel (as is approximately the case in the oceanic thermocline).

If θ is the angle of the current, U is its magnitude, f is the Coriolis parameter, g is the gravitational acceleration, and w is the vertical velocity, then ∂θ/∂z = −(gw/f'U2)(∂ρ/∂z), so that moving upward in the water column, currents will spiral clockwise in upwelling zones, and counterclockwise in downwelling zones.