Eastern Arctic Ocean Diapycnal Heat Fluxes through Large Double-Diffusive Steps.

Polyakov, Igor V., Padman, Laurie, Lenn, Y.-D., Pnyushkov, Andrey, Rember, Robert and Ivanov, Vladimir V. (2019) Eastern Arctic Ocean Diapycnal Heat Fluxes through Large Double-Diffusive Steps. Open Access Journal of Physical Oceanograph, 49 (1). pp. 227-246. DOI 10.1175/JPO-D-18-0080.1.

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The diffusive layering (DL) form of double-diffusive convection cools the Atlantic Water (AW) as it circulates around the Arctic Ocean. Large DL steps, with heights of homogeneous layers often greater than 10 m, have been found above the AW core in the Eurasian Basin (EB) of the eastern Arctic. Within these DL staircases, heat and salt fluxes are determined by the mechanisms for vertical transport through the high-gradient regions (HGRs) between the homogeneous layers. These HGRs can be thick (up to 5 m and more) and are frequently complex, being composed of multiple small steps or continuous stratification. Microstructure data collected in the EB in 2007 and 2008 are used to estimate heat fluxes through large steps in three ways: using the measured dissipation rate in the large homogeneous layers; utilizing empirical flux laws based on the density ratio and temperature step across HGRs after scaling to account for the presence of multiple small DL interfaces within each HGR; and averaging estimates of heat fluxes computed separately for individual small interfaces (as laminar conductive fluxes), small convective layers (via dissipation rates within small DL layers), and turbulent patches (using dissipation rate and buoyancy) within each HGR. Diapycnal heat fluxes through HGRs evaluated by each method agree with each other and range from ~2 to ~8 W m−2, with an average flux of ~3–4 W m−2. These large fluxes confirm a critical role for the DL instability in cooling and thickening the AW layer as it circulates around the eastern Arctic Ocean.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Diapycnal mixing; Mixing
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
Publisher: AMS (American Meteorological Society)
Projects: CATS
Date Deposited: 24 Mar 2020 14:05
Last Modified: 31 Jan 2022 09:19
URI: https://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/49217

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