Vertical flow in the Southern Ocean estimated from individual moorings

Sévellec, F.; Naveira Garabato, A. C.; Brearley, J. A. ORCID:; Sheen, K. L.. 2015 Vertical flow in the Southern Ocean estimated from individual moorings. Journal of Physical Oceanography, 45 (9). 2209-2220.

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In this study, we demonstrate that oceanic vertical velocities can be estimated from individual mooring measurements, even for non-stationary flow. This result is obtained under three assumptions: i. weak diffusion (Péclet number ≫1), ii. weak friction (Reynolds number ≫1), and iii. small inertial terms (Rossby number ≪1). The theoretical framework is applied to a set of 4 moorings located in the Southern Ocean. For this site, the diagnosed vertical velocities are highly variable in time, their standard deviation being one-to-two orders of magnitude greater than their mean. We demonstrate that the time-averaged vertical velocities are largely induced by geostrophic flow, and can be estimated from the time-averaged density and horizontal velocities. This suggests that local time-mean vertical velocities are primarily forced by the time-mean ocean dynamics, rather than by e.g. transient eddies or internal waves. We also show that, in the context of these four moorings, the time-mean vertical flow is consistent with stratified Taylor column dynamics in the presence of a topographic obstacle.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: BAS Programmes > BAS Programmes 2015 > Polar Oceans
ISSN: 0022-3670
Additional Keywords: geographic location/entity, Southern Ocean, circulation/dynamics, vertical motion, observational techniques and algorithms, buoy observations
Date made live: 14 Jul 2015 12:47 +0 (UTC)

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