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ArticleTransformation and upwelling of bottom water in fracture zone valleys(American Meteorological Society, 2020-03-03) Thurnherr, Andreas M. ; Clément, Louis ; St. Laurent, Louis C. ; Ferrari, Raffaele ; Ijichi, TakashiClosing the overturning circulation of bottom water requires abyssal transformation to lighter densities and upwelling. Where and how buoyancy is gained and water is transported upward remain topics of debate, not least because the available observations generally show downward-increasing turbulence levels in the abyss, apparently implying mean vertical turbulent buoyancy-flux divergence (densification). Here, we synthesize available observations indicating that bottom water is made less dense and upwelled in fracture zone valleys on the flanks of slow-spreading midocean ridges, which cover more than one-half of the seafloor area in some regions. The fracture zones are filled almost completely with water flowing up-valley and gaining buoyancy. Locally, valley water is transformed to lighter densities both in thin boundary layers that are in contact with the seafloor, where the buoyancy flux must vanish to match the no-flux boundary condition, and in thicker layers associated with downward-decreasing turbulence levels below interior maxima associated with hydraulic overflows and critical-layer interactions. Integrated across the valley, the turbulent buoyancy fluxes show maxima near the sidewall crests, consistent with net convergence below, with little sensitivity of this pattern to the vertical structure of the turbulence profiles, which implies that buoyancy flux convergence in the layers with downward-decreasing turbulence levels dominates over the divergence elsewhere, accounting for the net transformation to lighter densities in fracture zone valleys. We conclude that fracture zone topography likely exerts a controlling influence on the transformation and upwelling of bottom water in many areas of the global ocean.
ArticleObserved variations in turbulent mixing efficiency in the deep ocean(American Meteorological Society, 2018-08-15) Ijichi, Takashi ; Hibiya, ToshiyukiRecent progress in direct numerical simulations (DNSs) of stratified turbulent flows has led to increasing attention to the validity of the constancy of the dissipation flux coefficient Γ in the Osborn’s eddy diffusivity model. Motivated by lack of observational estimates of Γ, particularly under weakly stratified deep-ocean conditions, this study estimates Γ using deep microstructure profiles collected in various regions of the North Pacific and Southern Oceans. It is shown that Γ is not constant but varies significantly with the Ozmidov/Thorpe scale ratio ROT in a fashion similar to that obtained by previous DNS studies. Efficient mixing events with Γ ~ O(1) and ROT ~ O(0.1) tend to be frequently observed in the deep ocean (i.e., weak stratification), while moderate mixing events with Γ ~ O(0.1) and ROT ~ O(1) tend to be observed in the upper ocean (i.e., strong stratification). The observed negative relationship between Γ and ROT is consistent with a simple scaling that can be derived from classical turbulence theories. In contrast, the observed results exhibit no definite relationships between Γ and the buoyancy Reynolds number Reb, although Reb has long been thought to be another key parameter that controls Γ.
ArticleMoored turbulence measurements using pulse-coherent doppler sonar(American Meteorological Society, 2021-09-01) Zippel, Seth F. ; Farrar, J. Thomas ; Zappa, Christopher J. ; Miller, Una ; St. Laurent, Louis C. ; Ijichi, Takashi ; Weller, Robert A. ; McRaven, Leah T. ; Nylund, Sven ; Le Bel, DeborahUpper-ocean turbulence is central to the exchanges of heat, momentum, and gases across the air–sea interface and therefore plays a large role in weather and climate. Current understanding of upper-ocean mixing is lacking, often leading models to misrepresent mixed layer depths and sea surface temperature. In part, progress has been limited by the difficulty of measuring turbulence from fixed moorings that can simultaneously measure surface fluxes and upper-ocean stratification over long time periods. Here we introduce a direct wavenumber method for measuring turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) dissipation rates ϵ from long-enduring moorings using pulse-coherent ADCPs. We discuss optimal programming of the ADCPs, a robust mechanical design for use on a mooring to maximize data return, and data processing techniques including phase-ambiguity unwrapping, spectral analysis, and a correction for instrument response. The method was used in the Salinity Processes Upper-Ocean Regional Study (SPURS) to collect two year-long datasets. We find that the mooring-derived TKE dissipation rates compare favorably to estimates made nearby from a microstructure shear probe mounted to a glider during its two separate 2-week missions for O(10−8) ≤ ϵ ≤ O(10−5) m2 s−3. Periods of disagreement between turbulence estimates from the two platforms coincide with differences in vertical temperature profiles, which may indicate that barrier layers can substantially modulate upper-ocean turbulence over horizontal scales of 1–10 km. We also find that dissipation estimates from two different moorings at 12.5 and at 7 m are in agreement with the surface buoyancy flux during periods of strong nighttime convection, consistent with classic boundary layer theory.