Langmuir turbulence and surface heating in the Ocean Surface Boundary Layer

Pearson, Brodie C.; Grant, Alan L. M.; Polton, Jeff A. ORCID:; Belcher, Stephen E.. 2015 Langmuir turbulence and surface heating in the Ocean Surface Boundary Layer. Journal of Physical Oceanography, 45 (12). 2897-2911.

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This study uses large-eddy simulation to investigate the structure of the ocean surface boundary layer (OSBL) in the presence of Langmuir turbulence and stabilizing surface heat fluxes. The OSBL consists of a weakly stratified layer, despite a surface heat flux, above a stratified thermocline. The weakly stratified (mixed) layer is maintained by a combination of a turbulent heat flux produced by the wave-driven Stokes drift and downgradient turbulent diffusion. The scaling of turbulence statistics, such as dissipation and vertical velocity variance, is only affected by the surface heat flux through changes in the mixed layer depth. Diagnostic models are proposed for the equilibrium boundary layer and mixed layer depths in the presence of surface heating. The models are a function of the initial mixed layer depth before heating is imposed and the Langmuir stability length. In the presence of radiative heating, the models are extended to account for the depth profile of the heating.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 0022-3670
NORA Subject Terms: Marine Sciences
Date made live: 22 Jan 2016 10:50 +0 (UTC)

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