Ocean turbulent mixing is a key process affecting the uptake and redistribution of heat, carbon, nutrients, oxygen and other dissolved gasses. Vertical turbulent diffusivity sets the rates of water mass transformations and ocean mixing, and is intrinsically an average quantity over process time scales. Estimates based on microstructure profiling, however, are typically obtained as averages over individual profiles. How representative such averaged diffusivities are, remains unexplored in the quiescent Arctic Ocean. Here, we compare upper ocean vertical diffusivities in winter, derived from the7Be tracer‐based approach to those estimated from direct turbulence measurements during the year‐long Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC) expedition, 2019–2020. We found that diffusivity estimates from both methods agree within their respective measurement uncertainties. Diffusivity estimates obtained from dissipation rate profiles are sensitive to the averaging method applied, and the processing and analysis of similar data sets must take this sensitivity into account. Our findings indicate low characteristic diffusivities around 10−6 m2 s−1and correspondingly low vertical heat fluxes.
In the Arctic Ocean, limited measurements indicate that the strongest mixing below the atmospherically forced surface mixed layer occurs where tidal currents are strong. However, mechanisms of energy conversion from tides to turbulence and the overall contribution of tidally driven mixing to Arctic Ocean state are poorly understood. We present measurements from the shelf north of Svalbard that show abrupt isopycnal vertical displacements of 10–50 m and intense dissipation associated with cross‐isobath diurnal tidal currents of
- Award ID(s):
- NSF-PAR ID:
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- DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
- Date Published:
- Journal Name:
- Geophysical Research Letters
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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