Oceanic Turbulent Energy Budget using Large-Eddy Simulation of a Wind Event during DYNAMO Public Deposited

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  • The dominant processes governing ocean mixing during an active phase of the Madden–Julian oscillation are identified. Air–sea fluxes and upper-ocean currents and hydrography, measured aboard the R/V Revelle during boreal fall 2011 in the Indian Ocean at 0°, 80.5°E, are integrated by means of a large-eddy simulation (LES) to infer mixing mechanisms and quantify the resulting vertical property fluxes. In the simulation, wind accelerates the mixed layer, and shear mixes the momentum downward, causing the mixed layer base to descend. Turbulent kinetic energy gains due to shear production and Langmuir circulations are opposed by stirring gravity and frictional losses. The strongest stirring of buoyancy follows precipitation events and penetrates to the base of the mixed layer. The focus here is on the initial 24 h of an unusually strong wind burst that began on 24 November 2011. The model shows that Langmuir turbulence influences only the uppermost few meters of the ocean. Below the wave-energized region, shear instability responds to the integrated momentum flux into the mixed layer, lagging the initial onset of the storm. Shear below the mixed layer persists after the storm has weakened and decelerates the surface jet slowly (compared with the acceleration at the peak of the storm). Slow loss of momentum from the mixed layer extends the effect of the surface wind burst by energizing the fluid at the base of the mixed layer, thereby prolonging heat uptake due to the storm. Ocean turbulence and air–sea fluxes contribute to the cooling of the mixed layer approximately in the ratio 1:3, consistent with observations.
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  • Hoecker-Martínez, M. S., Smyth, W. D., & Skyllingstad, E. D. (2016). Oceanic Turbulent Energy Budget using Large Eddy Simulation of a wind event during DYNAMO. Journal of Physical Oceanography, 46(3), 827-840. doi:10.1175/JPO-D-15-0057.1
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