St. Laurent Louis C.

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St. Laurent
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Louis C.
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  • Article
    Evaluating salt-fingering theories
    (Sears Foundation for Marine Research, 2008-07) Inoue, R. ; Kunze, Eric ; St. Laurent, Louis C. ; Schmitt, Raymond W. ; Toole, John M.
    The NATRE fine- and microstructure data set is revisited to test salt-finger amplitude theories. Dependences of the mixing efficiency Γ, microscale buoyancy Reynolds number Re and thermal Cox number CxT on 5-m density ratio Rρ and gradient Richardson number Ri are examined. The observed mixing efficiency is too high to be explained by linear fastest-growing fingers but can be reproduced by wavenumbers 0.5-0.9 times lower than the fastest-growing wavenumber. Constraining these fingers with a hybrid wave/finger Froude number or a finger Reynolds number cannot reproduce the observed trends with Rρ or Ri, respectively. This suggests that background shear has no influence on finger amplitudes. Constraining average amplitudes of these lower-wavenumber fingers with finger Richardson number Rif ~ 0.2 reproduces the observed dependence of Re and CxT on density ratio Rρ and Ri at all but the lowest observed density ratio (Rρ = 1.3). Separately relaxing the assumptions of viscous control, dominance of a single mode and tall narrow fingers does not explain the difference between theory and data at low Rρ for a critical Rif ~ 0.2.
  • Article
    Does the marine biosphere mix the ocean?
    (Sears Foundation for Marine Research, 2006-07) Dewar, William K. ; Bingham, Rory J. ; Iverson, R. L. ; Nowacek, Douglas P. ; St. Laurent, Louis C. ; Wiebe, Peter H.
    Ocean mixing is thought to control the climatically important oceanic overturning circulation. Here we argue the marine biosphere, by a mechanism like the bioturbation occurring in marine sediments, mixes the oceans as effectively as the winds and tides. This statement is derived ultimately from an estimated 62.7 TeraWatts of chemical power provided to the marine environment in net primary production. Various approaches argue something like 1% (.63 TeraWatts) of this power is invested in aphotic ocean mechanical energy, a rate comparable to wind and tidal inputs.
  • Article
    Connections between ocean bottom topography and Earth’s climate
    (Oceanography Society, 2004-03) Jayne, Steven R. ; St. Laurent, Louis C. ; Gille, Sarah T.
    The seafloor is one of the critical controls on the ocean’s general circulation. Its influence comes through a variety of mechanisms including the contribution of mixing in the ocean’s interior through the generation of internal waves created by currents flowing over rough topography. The influence of topographic roughness on the ocean’s general circulation occurs through a series of connected processes. First, internal waves are generated by currents and tides flowing over topographic features in the presence of stratification. Some portion of these waves is sufficiently nonlinear that they immediately break creating locally enhanced vertical mixing. The majority of the internal waves radiate away from the source regions, and likely contribute to the background mixing observed in the ocean interior. The enhancement of vertical mixing over regions of rough topography has important implications for the abyssal stratification and circulation. These in turn have implications for the storage and transport of energy in the climate system, and ultimately the response of the climate system to natural and anthropogenic forcing. Finally, mixing of the stratified ocean leads to changes in sea level; these changes need to be considered when predicting future sea level.