Diapycnal mixing by meso-scale eddies

Eden, Carsten and Greatbatch, Richard (2008) Diapycnal mixing by meso-scale eddies Ocean Modelling, 23 (3-4). pp. 113-120. DOI 10.1016/j.ocemod.2008.04.006.

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The mean available potential energy released by baroclinic instability into the meso-scale eddy field has to be dissipated in some way and Tandon and Garrett [Tandon, A., Garrett, C., 1996. On a recent parameterization of mesoscale eddies. J. Phys. Oceanogr. 26 (3), 406–416] suggested that this dissipation could ultimately involve irreversible mixing of buoyancy by molecular processes at the small-scale end of the turbulence cascade. We revisit this idea and argue that the presence of dissipation within the thermocline automatically requires that a component of the eddy flux associated with meso-scale eddies must be associated with irreversible mixing of buoyancy within the thermocline. We offer a parameterisation of the implied diapycnal diffusivity based on (i) the dissipation rate for eddy kinetic energy given by the meso-scale eddy closure of Eden and Greatbatch [Eden, C., Greatbatch, R.J., 2008. Towards a meso-scale eddy closure. Ocean Modell. 20, 223–239.] and (ii) a fixed mixing efficiency. The implied eddy-induced diapycnal diffusivity (κ) is implemented in a coarse resolution model of the North Atlantic. In contrast to the vertical diffusivity given by a standard vertical mixing scheme, large lateral inhomogeneities can be found for κ in the interior of the ocean. In general, κ is large, i.e. up to o(10) cm2/s, near the western boundaries and almost vanishing in the interior of the ocean.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Oceanography; meso-scale eddies
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB1 Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics > FB1-TM Theory and Modeling
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.ocemod.2008.04.006
ISSN: 1463-5003
Projects: Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2008 16:52
Last Modified: 13 Feb 2017 10:22
URI: http://eprints.uni-kiel.de/id/eprint/3686

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