Home > Research > Physical Oceanography > Estimating mixing in a stratified boundary layer

Estimating mixing in a stratified boundary layer

In regions where there is a tight relationship between density and temperature, one can use the Thorpe scale analysis to measure the typical overturning scales and deduce an effective eddy diffusivity.

The ocean, despite being stably stratified in density from surface to bottom, also supports substantial turbulent mixing. This mixing is thought to be mainly induced by dominant motions due to internal waves, and focus is set to most energetic tidal motions (e.g., Munk and Wunsch, 1998). Since internal tides are mainly generated via sloping under water topography, it is conjectured that most mixing occurs above topography rather than in the interior (Munk, 1966; Armi, 1978; Thorpe, 1987; Garrett, 1990). If such mixing is efficient and vigorous enough, it may be sufficient to supply the basin-wide vertical turbulent diffusivity, presently rated at 10⁻⁴m²/s (Munk and Wunsch, 1998).

H. van Haren and L. Gostiaux, Detailed internal wave mixing above a deep-ocean slope, Journal of Marine Research, 70(1) (2012)

van Haren, H. & Gostiaux, L., Energy release through internal wave breaking. Oceanography, 25, 124–131 (2012)

SPIP | | Site Map | Follow site activity RSS 2.0