Eddies, islands, and mixing

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Hogg, Nelson G.
Katz, Eli J.
Sanford, Thomas B.
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Oceanic mixing
Ocean currents
As part of a field study of the relation between fine scale and large‐scale variations of water properties in the western North Atlantic, the waters in the vicinity of Bermuda were investigated in detail. Previous work in the area had revealed regions of intense temperature fine structure confined to the sides of the island. Generally quieter levels of activity elsewhere in the midocean have suggested that significant mixing might only occur at the solid and fluid boundaries of the ocean. During the course of our investigation, two Gulf Stream rings were found in the vicinity of the island. The exchange of water between them caused three regions of strong alongshore flow. In these three areas we find elevated levels of temperature fine structure in the upper 800 m as measured by the variance in the temperature gradient normalized by the square of the mean temperature gradient over the interval. The normalized temperature variances on small scales (0.2–1 m) are most energetic in patches tightly bound to the island sides, whereas the fine structure on larger scales (5–25 m) is also energetic away from the island in a region of outflow. Velocity profiles show that vertical scales shorten as one approaches the island, and the energy increases in the counterclockwise component. There is no correlation evident between the shear measurements of the internal wave field and the intensity of the fine structure. Possible mechanisms for the production of fine structure are explored within the context of these observations.
Also published as Journal of Geophysical Research, 83(C6), 1978, pp. 2921–2938
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Hogg, N. G., Katz, E. J., & Sanford, T. B. (1978). Eddies, islands, and mixing. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. https://doi.org/10.1575/1912/10630
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