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  1. Abstract The middepth ocean temperature profile was found by Munk in 1966 to agree with an exponential profile and shown to be consistent with a vertical advective–diffusive balance. However, tracer release experiments show that vertical diffusivity in the middepth ocean is an order of magnitude too small to explain the observed 1-km exponential scale. Alternative mechanisms suggested that nearly all middepth water upwells adiabatically in the Southern Ocean (SO). In this picture, SO eddies and wind set SO isopycnal slopes and therefore determine a nonvanishing middepth interior stratification even in the adiabatic limit. The effect of SO eddies on SO isopycnal slopes can be understood via either a marginal criticality condition or a near-vanishing SO residual deep overturning condition in the adiabatic limit. We examine the interplay between SO dynamics and interior mixing in setting the exponential profiles of σ 2 and ∂ z σ 2 . We use eddy-permitting numerical simulations, in which we artificially change the diapycnal mixing only away from the SO. We find that SO isopycnal slopes change in response to changes in the interior diapycnal mixing even when the wind forcing is constant, consistent with previous studies (that did not address these near-exponential profiles). However, in the limit of small interior mixing, the interior ∂ z σ 2 profile is not exponential, suggesting that SO processes alone, in an adiabatic limit, do not lead to the observed near-exponential structures of such profiles. The results suggest that while SO wind and eddies contribute to the nonvanishing middepth interior stratification, the exponential shape of the ∂ z σ 2 profiles must also involve interior diapycnal mixing. 
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  2. Abstract Concentrated poleward flows along eastern boundaries between 2- and 4-km depth in the southeast Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans have been observed, and appear in data assimilation products and regional model simulations at sufficiently high horizontal resolution, but their dynamics are still not well understood. We study the local dynamics of these deep eastern boundary currents (DEBCs) using idealized GCM simulations, and we use a conceptual vorticity model for the DEBCs to gain additional insights into the dynamics. Over most of the zonal width of the DEBCs, the vorticity balance is between meridional advection of planetary vorticity and vortex stretching, which is an interior-like vorticity balance. Over a thinner layer very close to the eastern boundary, a balance between vorticity tendencies due to friction and stretching that rapidly decay away from the boundary is found. Over the part of the DEBC that is governed by an interior-like vorticity balance, vertical stretching is driven by both the topography and temperature diffusion, while in the thinner boundary layer, it is driven instead by parameterized horizontal temperature mixing. The topographic driving acts via a cross-isobath flow that leads to stretching and thus to vorticity forcing for the concentrated DEBCs. 
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  3. Abstract Concentrated poleward flows near the eastern boundaries between 2- and 4-km depth have been observed repeatedly, particularly in the Southern Hemisphere. These deep eastern boundary currents (DEBCs) play an important role in setting the large-scale tracer distribution and have nonnegligible contribution to global transports of mass, heat, and tracers, but their dynamics are not well understood. In this paper, we first demonstrate the significant role of DEBCs in the southeastern Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans, using the Southern Ocean State Estimate (SOSE) data assimilating product, and using high-resolution regional general circulation model configurations. The vorticity balances of these DEBCs reveal that, over most of the width of such currents, they are in an interior-like vorticity budget, with the meridional advection of planetary vorticity βυ and vortex stretching fw z being the largest two terms, and with contributions of nonlinearity and friction that are of smaller spatial scale. The stretching is shown, using a temperature budget, to be largely forced by resolved or parameterized eddy temperature transport. Strongly decaying signals from the eastern boundary in friction and stretching form the dominant balance in a sublayer close to the eastern boundary. The temporal variability of DEBCs is then examined, to help to interpret observations that tend to be sporadic in both time and space. The probability distribution functions of northward velocity in DEBC regions are broad, implying that flow reversals are common. Although the regions of the simulated DEBCs are generally local minima of eddy kinetic energy, they are still constantly releasing westward-propagating Rossby waves. 
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