Abyssal plain hills and internal wave turbulence.

van Haren, Hans (2018) Abyssal plain hills and internal wave turbulence. Open Access Biogeosciences (BG), 15 (14). pp. 4387-4403. DOI 10.5194/bg-15-4387-2018.

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Abstract

A 400m long array with 201 high-resolution NIOZ temperature sensors was deployed above a north-east equatorial Pacific hilly abyssal plain for 2.5 months. The sensors sampled at a rate of 1Hz. The lowest sensor was at 7m above the bottom (ma.b.). The aim was to study internal waves and turbulent overturning away from large-scale ocean topography. Topography consisted of moderately elevated hills (a few hundred metres), providing a mean bottom slope of one-third of that found at the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (on 2km horizontal scales). In contrast with observations over large-scale topography like guyots, ridges and continental slopes, the present data showed a well-defined near-homogeneous "bottom boundary layer". However, its thickness varied strongly with time between  < 7 and 100ma.b. with a mean around 65ma.b. The average thickness exceeded tidal current bottom-frictional heights so that internal wave breaking dominated over bottom friction. Near-bottom fronts also varied in time (and thus space). Occasional coupling was observed between the interior internal wave breaking and the near-bottom overturning, with varying up- and down- phase propagation. In contrast with currents that were dominated by the semidiurnal tide, 200m shear was dominant at (sub-)inertial frequencies. The shear was so large that it provided a background of marginal stability for the straining high-frequency internal wave field in the interior. Daily averaged turbulence dissipation rate estimates were between 10−10 and 10−9m2s−3, increasing with depth, while eddy diffusivities were of the order of 10−4m2s−1. This most intense "near-bottom" internal-wave-induced turbulence will affect the resuspension of sediments.

Document Type: Article
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.5194/bg-15-4387-2018
ISSN: 1726-4170
Projects: JPIO-MiningImpact
Expeditions/Models/Experiments:
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2018 14:14
Last Modified: 11 Sep 2018 14:14
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/44239

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