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Enhanced turbulence and energy dissipation at ocean fronts
D'Asaro, E.; Lee, C.; Rainville, L.; Harcourt, R.; Thomas, L.N. (2011). Enhanced turbulence and energy dissipation at ocean fronts. Science (Wash.) 332(6027): 318-322
In: Science (Washington). American Association for the Advancement of Science: New York, N.Y. ISSN 0036-8075, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • D'Asaro, E.
  • Lee, C.
  • Rainville, L.
  • Harcourt, R.
  • Thomas, L.N.

    The ocean surface boundary layer mediates air-sea exchange. In the classical paradigm and in current climate models, its turbulence is driven by atmospheric forcing. Observations at a 1-kilometer-wide front within the Kuroshio Current indicate that the rate of energy dissipation within the boundary layer is enhanced by one to for the turbulence. The data quantitatively support the hypothesis that winds aligned with the frontal velocity catalyzed a release of energy from the front to the turbulence. The resulting boundary layer is stratified in contrast to the classically well-mixed layer. These effects will be strongest at the intense fronts found in the Kuroshio Current, the Gulf Stream, and the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, all of which are key players in the climate system.

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