Vertical kinetic energy and turbulent dissipation in the ocean
Thurnherr, Andreas M.
Toole, John M.
St. Laurent, Louis C.
Richards, Kelvin J.
MetadataShow full item record
Oceanic internal waves are closely linked to turbulence. Here a relationship between vertical wave number (kz) spectra of fine-scale vertical kinetic energy (VKE) and turbulent dissipation ε is presented using more than 250 joint profiles from five diverse dynamic regimes, spanning latitudes between the equator and 60°. In the majority of the spectra VKE varies as inline image. Scaling VKE with inline image collapses the off-equatorial spectra to within inline image but underestimates the equatorial spectrum. The simple empirical relationship between VKE and ε fits the data better than a common shear-and-strain fine-scale parameterization, which significantly underestimates ε in the two data sets that are least consistent with the Garrett-Munk (GM) model. The new relationship between fine-scale VKE and dissipation rate can be interpreted as an alternative, single-parameter scaling for turbulent dissipation in terms of fine-scale internal wave vertical velocity that requires no reference to the GM model spectrum.
© The Author(s), 2015. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Geophysical Research Letters 42 (2015): 7639–7647, doi:10.1002/2015GL065043.
Suggested CitationGeophysical Research Letters 42 (2015): 7639–7647
The following license files are associated with this item:
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Observations of the vertical distribution of low frequency kinetic energy in the western North Atlantic Schmitz, William J. (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 1978-11)Eddy or low frequency (periods greater than a day) kinetic energy per unit mass (KB) in the western North Atlantic is observed to increase approaching the Gulf Stream system along 55W longitude from the interior of the ...
Zippel, Seth F.; Farrar, J. Thomas; Zappa, Christopher J.; Plueddemann, Albert J. (American Geophysical Union, 2022-01-10)The total rate of work done on the ocean by the wind is of considerable interest for understanding global energy balances, as the energy from the wind drives ocean currents, grows surface waves, and forces vertical mixing. ...
Effect of eddy-wind interaction on Ekman pumping and eddy kinetic energy : a regional coupled modeling study for the California Current System Seo, Hyodae; Miller, Arthur J.; Norris, Joel R. (California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations, 2015)The California Current system (CCS) is characterized by the energetic summertime mesoscale and filamentary eddies with typical anomalies in sea surface temperature (SST) and surface current exceeding 2˚C and 0.5 ...