Clément Louis

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  • Article
    Transformation 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, Takashi
    Closing 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.
  • Article
    Turbulent mixing in a deep fracture zone on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge
    (American Meteorological Society, 2017-07-13) Clément, Louis ; Thurnherr, Andreas M. ; St. Laurent, Louis C.
    Midocean ridge fracture zones channel bottom waters in the eastern Brazil Basin in regions of intensified deep mixing. The mechanisms responsible for the deep turbulent mixing inside the numerous midocean fracture zones, whether affected by the local or the nonlocal canyon topography, are still subject to debate. To discriminate those mechanisms and to discern the canyon mean flow, two moorings sampled a deep canyon over and away from a sill/contraction. A 2-layer exchange flow, accelerated at the sill, transports 0.04–0.10-Sv (1 Sv ≡ 106 m3 s−1) up canyon in the deep layer. At the sill, the dissipation rate of turbulent kinetic energy ε increases as measured from microstructure profilers and as inferred from a parameterization of vertical kinetic energy. Cross-sill density and microstructure transects reveal an overflow potentially hydraulically controlled and modulated by fortnightly tides. During spring to neap tides, ε varies from O(10−9) to O(10−10) W kg−1 below 3500 m around the 2-layer interface. The detection of temperature overturns during tidal flow reversal, which almost fully opposes the deep up-canyon mean flow, confirms the canyon middepth enhancement of ε. The internal tide energy flux, particularly enhanced at the sill, compares with the lower-layer energy loss across the sill. Throughout the canyon away from the sill, near-inertial waves with downward-propagating energy dominate the internal wave field. The present study underlines the intricate pattern of the deep turbulent mixing affected by the mean flow, internal tides, and near-inertial waves.