Enhanced diapycnal diffusivity in intrusive regions of the Drake Passage
Merrifield, Sophia T.
St. Laurent, Louis C.
Owens, W Brechner
Thurnherr, Andreas M.
Toole, John M.
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KeywordGeographic location/entity; Southern Ocean; Circulation/ Dynamics; Diapycnal mixing; Mixing; Turbulence; Atm/Ocean Structure/ Phenomena; Fronts; Observational techniques and algorithms; Profilers, oceanic
Direct measurements of oceanic turbulent parameters were taken upstream of and across Drake Passage, in the region of the Subantarctic and Polar Fronts. Values of turbulent kinetic energy dissipation rate ε estimated by microstructure are up to two orders of magnitude lower than previously published estimates in the upper 1000 m. Turbulence levels in Drake Passage are systematically higher than values upstream, regardless of season. The dissipation of thermal variance χ is enhanced at middepth throughout the surveys, with the highest values found in northern Drake Passage, where water mass variability is the most pronounced. Using the density ratio, evidence for double-diffusive instability is presented. Subject to double-diffusive physics, the estimates of diffusivity using the Osborn–Cox method are larger than ensemble statistics based on ε and the buoyancy frequency.
Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2016. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 46 (2016): 1309-1321, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-15-0068.1.
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