Nonlocal transport due to Langmuir circulation in a coastal ocean
Plueddemann, Albert J.
Sullivan, Peter P.
MetadataShow full item record
We present observations and simulations of large-scale velocity structures associated with turbulent boundary layer dynamics of a coastal ocean. Special purpose acoustic Doppler current profiler measurements revealed that such structures were frequently present, in spite of complex coastal environmental conditions. Large eddy simulation results are only consistent with these observations if the Langmuir circulation (LC) effect due to wave-current interaction is included in the model. Thus, model results indicate that the observed large-scale velocity structures are due to LC. Based on these simulations, we examine the shift of energetics and transport from a local regime for purely shear-driven turbulence to a nonlocal regime for turbulence with LC due to coherent large-scale motions that span the whole water column. Without LC, turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) dissipation rates approximately balance TKE shear production, consistent with solid wall boundary layer turbulence. This stands in contrast to the LC case for which the vertical TKE transport plays a dominant role in the TKE balance. Conditional averages argue that large-scale LC coherent velocity structures extract only a small fraction of energy from the wavefield but receive most of their energy input from the Eulerian shear. The analysis of scalar fields and Lagrangian particles demonstrates that the vertical transport is significantly enhanced with LC but that small-scale mixing may be reduced. In the presence of LC, vertical scalar fluxes may be up gradient, violating a common assumption in oceanic boundary layer turbulence parameterizations.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2012. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Geophysical Research 117 (2012): C12007, doi:10.1029/2012JC008340.
Suggested CitationJournal of Geophysical Research 117 (2012): C12007
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Rypina, Irina I.; Kirincich, Anthony R.; Lentz, Steven J.; Sundermeyer, Miles A. (American Meteorological Society, 2016-06-29)This paper aims to test the validity, utility, and limitations of the lateral eddy diffusivity concept in a coastal environment through analyzing data from coupled drifter and dye releases within the footprint of a ...
Kirincich, Anthony R.; Gawarkiewicz, Glen G. (John Wiley & Sons, 2016-03-19)The drivers of spring and summer variability within the coastal ocean east of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, a critical link between the Gulf of Maine and Mid-Atlantic Bight, are investigated using 2 years of shipboard and moored ...
Lin, Peigen; Pickart, Robert S.; Torres, Daniel J.; Pacini, Astrid (American Meteorological Society, 2018-09-11)Shipboard hydrographic and velocity measurements collected in summer 2014 are used to study the evolution of the freshwater coastal current in southern Greenland as it encounters Cape Farewell. The velocity structure reveals ...