Convectively Driven Mixing in the Bottom Boundary Layer Public Deposited

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  • Closely spaced vertical profiles through the bottom boundary layer over a sloping continental shelf during relaxation from coastal upwelling reveal structure that is consistent with convectively driven mixing. Parcels of fluid were observed adjacent to the bottom that were warm (by several millikelvin) relative to fluid immediately above. On average, the vertical gradient of potential temperature in the superadiabatic (statically unstable) bottom layer was found to be −1.7 × 10⁻⁴ K m⁻¹, or 6.0 × 10⁻⁵ kg m⁻⁴ in potential density. Turbulent dissipation rates (ε) increased toward the bottom but were relatively constant over the dimensionless depth range 0.4–1.0z/D (where D is the mixed layer height). The Rayleigh number Ra associated with buoyancy anomalies in the bottom mixed layer is estimated to be approximately 10¹¹, much larger than the value of approximately 10³ required to initiate convection in simple laboratory or numerical experiments. An evaluation of the data in which the bottom boundary layer was unstably stratified indicates that the greater the buoyancy anomaly is, the greater the turbulent dissipation rate in the neutral layer away from the bottom will be. The vertical structures of averaged profiles of potential density, potential temperature, and turbulent dissipation rate versus nondimensional depth are similar to their distinctive structure in the upper ocean during convection. Nearby moored observations indicate that periods of static instability near the bottom follow events of northward flow and local fluid warming by lateral advection. The rate of local fluid warming is consistent with several estimates of offshore buoyancy transport near the bottom. It is suggested that the concentration of offshore Ekman transport near the bottom of the Ekman layer when the flow atop the layer is northward can provide the differential transport of buoyant bottom fluid when the density in the bottom boundary layer decreases up the slope.
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  • Moum, J. N., A. Perlin, J. M. Klymak, M. D. Levine, T. Boyd, P. M. Kosro, 2004: Convectively Driven Mixing in the Bottom Boundary Layer. Journal of Physical Oceanography, 34, 2189–2202.
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  • description.provenance : Submitted by Deborah Campbell (deborah.campbell@oregonstate.edu) on 2012-02-06T22:00:33Z No. of bitstreams: 1 MoumJN.CEOAS.ConvectivelyDrivenMixing.pdf: 1064402 bytes, checksum: ba1c26bb04d41ac4d043570206f6d706 (MD5)
  • description.provenance : Made available in DSpace on 2012-02-06T22:00:33Z (GMT). No. of bitstreams: 1 MoumJN.CEOAS.ConvectivelyDrivenMixing.pdf: 1064402 bytes, checksum: ba1c26bb04d41ac4d043570206f6d706 (MD5) Previous issue date: 2004-10

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