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Intensified diapycnal mixing in the midlatitude western boundary currents
Jing, Z.; Wu, L. (2014). Intensified diapycnal mixing in the midlatitude western boundary currents. NPG Scientific Reports 4(7412): 6 pp.
In: Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group). Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 2045-2322, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Jing, Z.
  • Wu, L.

    The wind work on oceanic near-inertial motions is suggested to play an important role in furnishing the diapycnal mixing in the deep ocean which affects the uptake of heat and carbon by the ocean as well as climate changes. However, it remains a puzzle where and through which route the near-inertial energy penetrates into the deep ocean. Using the measurements collected in the Kuroshio extension region during January 2005, we demonstrate that the diapycnal mixing in the thermocline and deep ocean is tightly related to the shear variance of wind-generated near-inertial internal waves with the diapycnal diffusivity 6 × 10−5 m2s−1 almost an order stronger than that observed in the circulation gyre. It is estimated that 45%–62% of the local near-inertial wind work 4.5 × 10−3 Wm−2 radiates into the thermocline and deep ocean and accounts for 42%–58% of the energy required to furnish mixing there. The elevated mixing is suggested to be maintained by the energetic near-inertial wind work and strong eddy activities causing enhanced downward near-inertial energy flux than earlier findings. The western boundary current turns out to be a key region for the penetration of near-inertial energy into the deep ocean and a hotspot for the diapycnal mixing in winter.

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