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 ...
Production and destruction of eddy kinetic energy in forced submesoscale eddy-resolving simulations Mukherjee, Sonaljit; Ramachandran, Sanjiv; Tandon, Amit; Mahadevan, Amala (2016-12-02)We study the production and dissipation of the eddy kinetic energy (EKE) in a submesoscale eddy field forced with downfront winds using the Process Study Ocean Model (PSOM) with a horizontal grid resolution of 0.5 km. We ...
Silverthorne, Katherine E.; Toole, John M. (American Meteorological Society, 2009-04)Seasonal variability of near-inertial horizontal kinetic energy is examined using observations from a series of McLane Moored Profiler moorings located at 39°N, 69°W in the western North Atlantic Ocean in combination with ...