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Letter to Nature. High mixing rates in the abyssal Southern Ocean

Letter to Nature. High mixing rates in the abyssal Southern Ocean
Letter to Nature. High mixing rates in the abyssal Southern Ocean
Mixing of water masses from the deep ocean to the layers above can be estimated from considerations of continuity in the global ocean overturning circulation. But averaged over ocean basins, diffusivity has been observed to be too small to account for the global upward flux of water, and high mixing intensities have only been found in the restricted areas close to sills and narrow gaps. Here we present observations from the Scotia Sea, a deep ocean basin between the Antarctic peninsula and the tip of South America, showing a high intensity of mixing that is unprecedented over such a large area. Using a budget calculation over the whole basin, we find a diffusivity of (39 +- 10) x 10^-4 m^2 s^-1, averaged over an area of 7 x 10^5 km^2. The Scotia Sea is a basin with a rough topography16, situated just east of the Drake passage where the strong flow of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current is constricted in width. The high basin-wide mixing intensity in this area of the Southern Ocean may help resolve the question of where the abyssal water masses are mixed towards the surface.
0028-0836
1011-1014
Heywood, K.J.
4eeebe72-3857-4729-8d6a-7ece46d37cd5
Naveira Garabato, A.C.
97c0e923-f076-4b38-b89b-938e11cea7a6
Stevens, D.P.
9b78fd18-9ea2-409d-b78f-61ac70555905
Heywood, K.J.
4eeebe72-3857-4729-8d6a-7ece46d37cd5
Naveira Garabato, A.C.
97c0e923-f076-4b38-b89b-938e11cea7a6
Stevens, D.P.
9b78fd18-9ea2-409d-b78f-61ac70555905

Heywood, K.J., Naveira Garabato, A.C. and Stevens, D.P. (2002) Letter to Nature. High mixing rates in the abyssal Southern Ocean. Nature, 415 (6875), 1011-1014. (doi:10.1038/4151011a).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Mixing of water masses from the deep ocean to the layers above can be estimated from considerations of continuity in the global ocean overturning circulation. But averaged over ocean basins, diffusivity has been observed to be too small to account for the global upward flux of water, and high mixing intensities have only been found in the restricted areas close to sills and narrow gaps. Here we present observations from the Scotia Sea, a deep ocean basin between the Antarctic peninsula and the tip of South America, showing a high intensity of mixing that is unprecedented over such a large area. Using a budget calculation over the whole basin, we find a diffusivity of (39 +- 10) x 10^-4 m^2 s^-1, averaged over an area of 7 x 10^5 km^2. The Scotia Sea is a basin with a rough topography16, situated just east of the Drake passage where the strong flow of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current is constricted in width. The high basin-wide mixing intensity in this area of the Southern Ocean may help resolve the question of where the abyssal water masses are mixed towards the surface.

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Published date: 2002

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Local EPrints ID: 37546
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/37546
ISSN: 0028-0836
PURE UUID: 9eaa2c72-356c-4ab8-8ead-fc164204dd80

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Date deposited: 24 May 2006
Last modified: 09 Nov 2021 08:09

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Contributors

Author: K.J. Heywood
Author: D.P. Stevens

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