Mixing by ocean eddies
Author(s)Abernathey, Ryan (Ryan Patrick)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences.
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Mesoscale eddies mix and transport tracers such as heat and potential vorticity laterally in the ocean. While this transport plays an important role in the climate system, especially in the Southern Ocean, we lack a, comprehensive understanding of what sets mixing rates. This thesis seeks to advance this understanding through three related studies. First, mixing rates are diagnosed from an eddy-resolving state estimate of the Southern Ocean, revealing a meridional cross-section of effective diffusivity shaped by the interplay between eddy propagation and mean flow. Effective diffusivity diagnostics are then applied to quantify surface mixing rates globally, using a, kinematic model with velocities derived from satellite observations; the diagnosed mixing rates show a rich spatial structure, with especially strong mixing in the tropics and western-boundary-current regions. Finally, an idealized numerical model of the Southern Ocean is analyzed, focusing on the response to changes in win( stress. The sensitivity of the meridional overturning circulation to the wind changes demonstrates the importance of properly capturing eddy mixing rates for large-scale climate problems.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, 2012.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (p. 163-175).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences.