The dynamics of the bottom boundary layer of the deep ocean
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Profiles of salinity and temperature from the center of the Hatteras Abyssal Plain have a signature that is characteristic of mixing up a uniformly stratified region: a well-mixed layer above the bottom, bounded by an interface. The penetration height of the mixed-layer varies from about 10 m to 100 m and has been correlated by Armi and Millard (1976) with the one day mean velocity, inferred from current meters located above the bottom boundary layer. Here the dynamics of such layers is discussed. A model of entrainment and mixing for a flat bottom boundary layer is outlined; this model is however incomplete because we find too little known of the structure of turbulence above an Ekman layer. An alternate model is suggested by the estimate, from the correlation of penetration height with velocity of the internal Froude number of the mixed layer, F~1.7. This value indicates that the large penetration height may be due to the instability of the well-mixed layer to the formation of roll waves.
Also published as: Proceedings of the 8th International Colloquium on Ocean Hydrodynamics, 19?7, pp. 153-164
Suggested CitationArmi, L. (1978). The dynamics of the bottom boundary layer of the deep ocean. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. https://doi.org/10.1575/1912/10588
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