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Abyssal upwelling in Mid-Ocean Ridge fracture zones

Clement, Louis; Thurnherr, Andreas M.. 2018 Abyssal upwelling in Mid-Ocean Ridge fracture zones. Geophysical Research Letters, 45 (5). 2424-2432. https://doi.org/10.1002/2017GL075872

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Abstract/Summary

Turbulence in the abyssal ocean plays a fundamental role in the climate system by sustaining the deepest branch of the overturning circulation. Over the western flank of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge in the South Atlantic, previously observed bottom-intensified and tidally modulated mixing of abyssal waters appears to imply a counterintuitive densification of deep and bottom waters. Here we show that inside fracture zones, however, turbulence is elevated away from the seafloor because of intensified downward propagating near-inertial wave energy, which decays below a subinertial shear maximum. Ray-tracing simulations predict a decay of wave energy subsequent to wave-mean flow interactions. The hypothesized wave-mean flow interactions drive a deep flow toward lighter densities of up to 0.6 Sv over the mid-ocean ridge flank in the Brazil Basin, and the same process may also cause upwelling of abyssal waters in other ocean basins with mid-ocean ridges with fracture zones.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): https://doi.org/10.1002/2017GL075872
ISSN: 00948276
Date made live: 13 Mar 2018 15:31 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/519545

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