Hydrography and microstructure of an Arctic cyclonic eddy Public Deposited

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  • Hydrographic and velocity profiles were made through a small baroclinic cyclonic eddy during the Arctic Internal Wave Experiment in the Canada Basin in April 1985. The maximum measured azimuthal velocity was 0.38 m s⁻¹ at a depth of 115 m, with velocities decaying to near zero at 30 and 270 m. Maximum isopycnal displacements at the closest approach to the eddy's axis were about 40 m. The deduced radius of maximum velocity is r₀ = 7 ± 2 km, and the total radius is about 13 km. Kinetic energy dissipation rate, ε, was enhanced within 70 m of the surface throughout the transect, and for radius r < r₀ near 60 m and 180 m. The subsurface maxima in ε do not correspond to regions of low Richardson number, but are colocated with locally reduced shear, consistent with the observed dissipation rates being merely the remnants of recent, more energetic mixing events. The time scale for the decay of the eddy, based on its total energy and the measured dissipation rates, is O(10) years. Given this large dissipation time scale, critical layer absorption of vertically propagating internal wave momentum may be dynamically significant to the eddy's evolution.
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  • Padman, L., M. Levine, T. Dillon, J. Morison, and R. Pinkel (1990), Hydrography and microstructure of an Arctic cyclonic eddy, J. Geophys. Res., 95(C6), 9411-9420. doi: 10.1029/JC095iC06p09411
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