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Damping of climate-scale oceanic variability by mesoscale eddy turbulence

Damping of climate-scale oceanic variability by mesoscale eddy turbulence
Damping of climate-scale oceanic variability by mesoscale eddy turbulence
The impact of mesoscale eddy turbulence on long-term, climatic variability in the ocean’s buoyancy structure is investigated using observations from a mooring deployed in the Drake Passage, Southern Ocean. By applying the Temporal-Residual-Mean framework and characterizing the variance contributors and the buoyancy variance budget, we identify the main source and sink of long-term buoyancy variance. Long-term buoyancy variance amplitude is set by long-term vertical velocity fluctuations acting on the steady stratification. This baro-clinic buoyancy flux is also the main source of the variance, indicative of the effect of large-scale baroclinic instability. This source is balanced by a sink of long-term buoyancy variance associated with the vertical advection of the steady stratification by the eddy-induced circulation. We conclude that mesoscale eddy turbulence acts as a damping mechanism for long-term, climatic variability in the region of the observations, consistent with an ‘eddy saturated’ behaviour of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current.
0022-3670
Sevellec, Florian
01569d6c-65b0-4270-af2a-35b0a77c9140
Sevellec, Florian
01569d6c-65b0-4270-af2a-35b0a77c9140

Sevellec, Florian (2020) Damping of climate-scale oceanic variability by mesoscale eddy turbulence. Journal of Physical Oceanography.

Record type: Article

Abstract

The impact of mesoscale eddy turbulence on long-term, climatic variability in the ocean’s buoyancy structure is investigated using observations from a mooring deployed in the Drake Passage, Southern Ocean. By applying the Temporal-Residual-Mean framework and characterizing the variance contributors and the buoyancy variance budget, we identify the main source and sink of long-term buoyancy variance. Long-term buoyancy variance amplitude is set by long-term vertical velocity fluctuations acting on the steady stratification. This baro-clinic buoyancy flux is also the main source of the variance, indicative of the effect of large-scale baroclinic instability. This source is balanced by a sink of long-term buoyancy variance associated with the vertical advection of the steady stratification by the eddy-induced circulation. We conclude that mesoscale eddy turbulence acts as a damping mechanism for long-term, climatic variability in the region of the observations, consistent with an ‘eddy saturated’ behaviour of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current.

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Accepted/In Press date: 5 July 2019
Published date: 10 November 2020

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 445025
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/445025
ISSN: 0022-3670
PURE UUID: 9d96d542-8382-4460-b243-ecf5b48ecb3a

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Date deposited: 18 Nov 2020 17:30
Last modified: 18 Nov 2020 17:30

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