Salt-finger induced enhancement of upper-ocean nutrient supply


Oschlies, A., Dietze, H. and Kahler, P. (2003) Salt-finger induced enhancement of upper-ocean nutrient supply. Geophysical Research Letters, 30, (23), 2204. (doi: 10.1029/2003GL018552).

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Description/Abstract

In the subtropics, estimates of upper-ocean nitrate supply by turbulent mixing have been found insufficent to balance estimated nutrient loss through organic-matter export. Most mixing-rate estimates as well as numerical turbulence closure schemes commonly employed in numerical models have, however, neglected salt-finger induced mixing. Here we examine the potential contribution of salt-finger induced mixing to nutrient fluxes. Our model results suggest that salt-fingering instabilities generate substantial nutrient fluxes (on average 0.03 mol N m−2 yr−1) which are of similar magnitude as fluxes associated with mechanically induced turbulence or with mesoscale eddies. Because salt-fingering activity depends on the proportion of temperature versus salinity effects on stratification rather than on the stability of stratification itself, its sensitivity to climate change will differ from that of “ordinary” mixing processes and needs to be considered in the context of global change.

Item Type: Article
Related URLs:
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GC Oceanography
Divisions: University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Ocean & Earth Science (SOC/SOES)
ePrint ID: 12710
Date Deposited: 01 Dec 2004
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2014 18:03
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/12710

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