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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2016-09-23
    Description: © The Author(s), 2015. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Nature Communications 6 (2015): 6862, doi:10.1038/ncomms7862.
    Description: Although the strongest ocean surface currents occur at horizontal scales of order 100 km, recent numerical simulations suggest that flows smaller than these mesoscale eddies can achieve important vertical transports in the upper ocean. These submesoscale flows, 1–100 km in horizontal extent, take heat and atmospheric gases down into the interior ocean, accelerating air–sea fluxes, and bring deep nutrients up into the sunlit surface layer, fueling primary production. Here we present observational evidence that submesoscale flows undergo a seasonal cycle in the surface mixed layer: they are much stronger in winter than in summer. Submesoscale flows are energized by baroclinic instabilities that develop around geostrophic eddies in the deep winter mixed layer at a horizontal scale of order 1–10 km. Flows larger than this instability scale are energized by turbulent scale interactions. Enhanced submesoscale activity in the winter mixed layer is expected to achieve efficient exchanges with the permanent thermocline below.
    Description: J.C. and R.F. acknowledge financial support under grants ONR-N00014-09-1-0458 and NSF-OCE-1233832; J.M.K. under grants ONR-N00014-11-1-0165 and NSERC-327920-2006; J.G. under grant ONR-N00014-12-1-0105.
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
    Type: Article
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2018-06-01
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2017. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 98 (2017): 2429-2454, doi:10.1175/BAMS-D-16-0030.1.
    Description: Diapycnal mixing plays a primary role in the thermodynamic balance of the ocean and, consequently, in oceanic heat and carbon uptake and storage. Though observed mixing rates are on average consistent with values required by inverse models, recent attention has focused on the dramatic spatial variability, spanning several orders of magnitude, of mixing rates in both the upper and deep ocean. Away from ocean boundaries, the spatiotemporal patterns of mixing are largely driven by the geography of generation, propagation, and dissipation of internal waves, which supply much of the power for turbulent mixing. Over the last 5 years and under the auspices of U.S. Climate Variability and Predictability Program (CLIVAR), a National Science Foundation (NSF)- and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)-supported Climate Process Team has been engaged in developing, implementing, and testing dynamics-based parameterizations for internal wave–driven turbulent mixing in global ocean models. The work has primarily focused on turbulence 1) near sites of internal tide generation, 2) in the upper ocean related to wind-generated near inertial motions, 3) due to internal lee waves generated by low-frequency mesoscale flows over topography, and 4) at ocean margins. Here, we review recent progress, describe the tools developed, and discuss future directions.
    Description: We are grateful to U.S. CLIVAR for their leadership in instigating and facilitating the Climate Process Team program. We are indebted to NSF and NOAA for sponsoring the CPT series.
    Description: 2018-06-01
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2017-01-04
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2008. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 38 (2008): 380-399, doi:10.1175/2007JPO3728.1.
    Description: Barotropic to baroclinic conversion and attendant phenomena were recently examined at the Kaena Ridge as an aspect of the Hawaii Ocean Mixing Experiment. Two distinct mixing processes appear to be at work in the waters above the 1100-m-deep ridge crest. At middepths, above 400 m, mixing events resemble their open-ocean counterparts. There is no apparent modulation of mixing rates with the fortnightly cycle, and they are well modeled by standard open-ocean parameterizations. Nearer to the topography, there is quasi-deterministic breaking associated with each baroclinic crest passage. Large-amplitude, small-scale internal waves are triggered by tidal forcing, consistent with lee-wave formation at the ridge break. These waves have vertical wavelengths on the order of 400 m. During spring tides, the waves are nonlinear and exhibit convective instabilities on their leading edge. Dissipation rates exceed those predicted by the open-ocean parameterizations by up to a factor of 100, with the disparity increasing as the seafloor is approached. These observations are based on a set of repeated CTD and microconductivity profiles obtained from the research platform (R/P) Floating Instrument Platform (FLIP), which was trimoored over the southern edge of the ridge crest. Ocean velocity and shear were resolved to a 4-m vertical scale by a suspended Doppler sonar. Dissipation was estimated both by measuring overturn displacements and from microconductivity wavenumber spectra. The methods agreed in water deeper than 200 m, where sensor resolution limitations do not limit the turbulence estimates. At intense mixing sites new phenomena await discovery, and existing parameterizations cannot be expected to apply.
    Description: This work was funded by the National Science Foundation as a component of the Hawaii Ocean Mixing Program. Added support for FLIP was provided by the Office of Naval Research.
    Keywords: Pacific Ocean ; Topographic effects ; Internal waves ; Barotropic flows ; Baroclinic flows
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2017-01-04
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2013. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 43 (2013): 17–28, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-11-0108.1.
    Description: Observational evidence is presented for transfer of energy from the internal tide to near-inertial motions near 29°N in the Pacific Ocean. The transfer is accomplished via parametric subharmonic instability (PSI), which involves interaction between a primary wave (the internal tide in this case) and two smaller-scale waves of nearly half the frequency. The internal tide at this location is a complex superposition of a low-mode waves propagating north from Hawaii and higher-mode waves generated at local seamounts, making application of PSI theory challenging. Nevertheless, a statistically significant phase locking is documented between the internal tide and upward- and downward-propagating near-inertial waves. The phase between those three waves is consistent with that expected from PSI theory. Calculated energy transfer rates from the tide to near-inertial motions are modest, consistent with local dissipation rate estimates. The conclusion is that while PSI does befall the tide near a critical latitude of 29°N, it does not do so catastrophically.
    Description: This work was sponsored by NSF OCE 04-25283.
    Description: 2013-07-01
    Keywords: Diapycnal mixing ; Internal waves ; Nonlinear dynamics
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2016-06-25
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2013. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology 30 (2013): 1767–1788, doi:10.1175/JTECH-D-12-00140.1.
    Description: Seismic images of oceanic thermohaline finestructure record vertical displacements from internal waves and turbulence over large sections at unprecedented horizontal resolution. Where reflections follow isopycnals, their displacements can be used to estimate levels of turbulence dissipation, by applying the Klymak–Moum slope spectrum method. However, many issues must be considered when using seismic images for estimating turbulence dissipation, especially sources of random and harmonic noise. This study examines the utility of seismic images for estimating turbulence dissipation in the ocean, using synthetic modeling and data from two field surveys, from the South China Sea and the eastern Pacific Ocean, including the first comparison of turbulence estimates from seismic images and from vertical shear. Realistic synthetic models that mimic the spectral characteristics of internal waves and turbulence show that reflector slope spectra accurately reproduce isopycnal slope spectra out to horizontal wavenumbers of 0.04 cpm, corresponding to horizontal wavelengths of 25 m. Using seismic reflector slope spectra requires recognition and suppression of shot-generated harmonic noise and restriction of data to frequency bands with signal-to-noise ratios greater than about 4. Calculation of slope spectra directly from Fourier transforms of the seismic data is necessary to determine the suitability of a particular dataset to turbulence estimation from reflector slope spectra. Turbulence dissipation estimated from seismic reflector displacements compares well to those from 10-m shear determined by coincident expendable current profiler (XCP) data, demonstrating that seismic images can produce reliable estimates of turbulence dissipation in the ocean, provided that random noise is minimal and harmonic noise is removed.
    Description: This work was funded by NSF Grants 0452744, 0405654, and 0648620, and ONR/DEPSCoR Grant DODONR40027.
    Description: 2014-02-01
    Keywords: Mixing ; Thermocline ; Acoustic measurements/effects
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2017-12-21
    Description: Author Posting. © The Author(s), 2015. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Nature Publishing Group for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Nature 521 (2015): 65-69, doi:10.1038/nature14399.
    Description: Internal gravity waves, the subsurface analogue of the familiar surface gravity waves that break on beaches, are ubiquitous in the ocean. Because of their strong vertical and horizontal currents, and the turbulent mixing caused by their breaking, they impact a panoply of ocean processes, such as the supply of nutrients for photosynthesis1, sediment and pollutant transport2 and acoustic transmission3; they also pose hazards for manmade structures in the ocean4. Generated primarily by the wind and the tides, internal waves can travel thousands of kilometres from their sources before breaking5, posing severe challenges for their observation and their inclusion in numerical climate models, which are sensitive to their effects6-7. Over a decade of studies8-11 have targeted the South China Sea, where the oceans’ most powerful internal waves are generated in the Luzon Strait and steepen dramatically as they propagate west. Confusion has persisted regarding their generation mechanism, variability and energy budget, however, due to the lack of in-situ data from the Luzon Strait, where extreme flow conditions make measurements challenging. Here we employ new observations and numerical models to (i) show that the waves begin as sinusoidal disturbances rather than from sharp hydraulic phenomena, (ii) reveal the existence of 〉200-m-high breaking internal waves in the generation region that give rise to turbulence levels 〉10,000 times that in the open ocean, (iii) determine that the Kuroshio western boundary current significantly refracts the internal wave field emanating from the Luzon Strait, and (iv) demonstrate a factor-of-two agreement between modelled and observed energy fluxes that enables the first observationally-supported energy budget of the region. Together, these findings give a cradle-to-grave picture of internal waves on a basin scale, which will support further improvements of their representation in numerical climate predictions.
    Description: Our work was supported by the U.S. Office of Naval Research and the Taiwan National Science Council.
    Description: 2015-10-29
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
    Type: Preprint
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2017-10-06
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2015. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 96 (2015): 1257–1279, doi:10.1175/BAMS-D-14-00015.1.
    Description: Lateral stirring is a basic oceanographic phenomenon affecting the distribution of physical, chemical, and biological fields. Eddy stirring at scales on the order of 100 km (the mesoscale) is fairly well understood and explicitly represented in modern eddy-resolving numerical models of global ocean circulation. The same cannot be said for smaller-scale stirring processes. Here, the authors describe a major oceanographic field experiment aimed at observing and understanding the processes responsible for stirring at scales of 0.1–10 km. Stirring processes of varying intensity were studied in the Sargasso Sea eddy field approximately 250 km southeast of Cape Hatteras. Lateral variability of water-mass properties, the distribution of microscale turbulence, and the evolution of several patches of inert dye were studied with an array of shipboard, autonomous, and airborne instruments. Observations were made at two sites, characterized by weak and moderate background mesoscale straining, to contrast different regimes of lateral stirring. Analyses to date suggest that, in both cases, the lateral dispersion of natural and deliberately released tracers was O(1) m2 s–1 as found elsewhere, which is faster than might be expected from traditional shear dispersion by persistent mesoscale flow and linear internal waves. These findings point to the possible importance of kilometer-scale stirring by submesoscale eddies and nonlinear internal-wave processes or the need to modify the traditional shear-dispersion paradigm to include higher-order effects. A unique aspect of the Scalable Lateral Mixing and Coherent Turbulence (LatMix) field experiment is the combination of direct measurements of dye dispersion with the concurrent multiscale hydrographic and turbulence observations, enabling evaluation of the underlying mechanisms responsible for the observed dispersion at a new level.
    Description: The bulk of this work was funded under the Scalable Lateral Mixing and Coherent Turbulence Departmental Research Initiative and the Physical Oceanography Program. The dye experiments were supported jointly by the Office of Naval Research and the National Science Foundation Physical Oceanography Program (Grants OCE-0751653 and OCE-0751734).
    Description: 2016-02-01
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
    Type: Article
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: Diapycnal mixing plays a primary role in the thermodynamic balance of the ocean, and consequently, in oceanic heat and carbon uptake and storage. Though observed mixing rates are on average consistent with values required by inverse models, recent attention has focused on the dramatic spatial variability, spanning several orders of magnitude, of mixing rates in both the upper and deep ocean. Climate models have been shown to be very sensitive not only to the overall level but to the detailed distribution of mixing; sub-grid-scale parameterizations based on accurate physical processes will allow model forecasts to evolve with a changing climate. Spatio-temporal patterns of mixing are largely driven by the geography of generation, propagation and destruction of internal waves, which are thought to supply much of the power for turbulent mixing. Over the last five years and under the auspices of US CLIVAR, a NSF and NOAA supported Climate Process Team has been engaged in developing, implementing and testing dynamics-base parameterizations for internal-wave driven turbulent mixing in global ocean models. The work has primarily focused on turbulence 1) near sites of internal tide generation, 2) in the upper ocean related to wind-generated near inertial motions, 3) due to internal lee waves generated by low-frequency mesoscale flows over topography, and 4) at ocean margins. Here we review recent progress, describe the tools developed, and discuss future directions.
    Keywords: Oceanography
    Type: GSFC-E-DAA-TN40376 , Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (ISSN 0003-0007) (e-ISSN 1520-0477); 98; 11; 2429-2454
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2015-09-01
    Print ISSN: 0022-3670
    Electronic ISSN: 1520-0485
    Topics: Geosciences , Physics
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2015-02-01
    Print ISSN: 0022-3670
    Electronic ISSN: 1520-0485
    Topics: Geosciences , Physics
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