Spatial variability of mixing in the Southern Ocean
Sloyan, Bernadette M.
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KeywordFine structure and microstructure; Internal and inertial waves; Turbulence, diffusion, and mixing processes
Strain variance from standard hydrographic profiles in the southern hemisphere oceans shows that turbulent mixing is vertically and spatially non-uniform. In the South Atlantic, Indian and South Pacific Oceans, enhanced diffusivities are found over rough topography. Consistent with internal tide generated mixing, the water column diffusivity returns to background levels 500 m to 1000 m off the sea floor. In the Southern Ocean, enhanced diffusivities throughout the entire water column below 1500 m are found in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current over complex topography. Differences in the vertical extent of enhanced diffusivity profiles in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current between the parameterizations based on tidal models and topography and of the present estimate of strain variance imply that elevated vertical diffusivity profiles in the Southern Ocean are due to the interaction between the mean geostrophic current and bottom topography.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2005. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Geophysical Research Letters 32 (2005): L18603, doi:10.1029/2005GL023568.