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Mixing-Driven Mean Flows and Submesoscale Eddies over Mid-Ocean Ridge Flanks and Fracture Zone Canyons

Ruan, Xiaozhou and Callies, Jörn (2020) Mixing-Driven Mean Flows and Submesoscale Eddies over Mid-Ocean Ridge Flanks and Fracture Zone Canyons. Journal of Physical Oceanography, 50 (1). pp. 175-195. ISSN 0022-3670. doi:10.1175/JPO-D-19-0174.1.

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To close the abyssal overturning circulation, dense bottom water has to become lighter by mixing with lighter water above. This diapycnal mixing is strongly enhanced over rough topography in abyssal mixing layers, which span the bottom few hundred meters of the water column. In particular, mixing rates are enhanced over mid-ocean ridge systems, which extend for thousands of kilometers in the global ocean and are thought to be key contributors to the required abyssal water mass transformation. To examine how stratification and thus diabatic transformation is maintained in such abyssal mixing layers, this study explores the circulation driven by bottom-intensified mixing over mid-ocean ridge flanks and within ridge-flank canyons. Idealized numerical experiments show that stratification over the ridge flanks is maintained by submesoscale baroclinic eddies and that stratification within ridge-flank canyons is maintained by mixing-driven mean flows. These restratification processes affect how strong a diabatic buoyancy flux into the abyss can be maintained, and they are essential for maintaining the dipole in water mass transformation that has emerged as the hallmark of a diabatic circulation driven by bottom-intensified mixing.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription
Ruan, Xiaozhou0000-0003-1240-1584
Callies, Jörn0000-0002-6815-1230
Additional Information:© 2020 American Meteorological Society. Received: 30 July 2019; Final Form: 24 October 2019; Published Online: 13 January 2020. We thank Beverley McKeon, Andrew Stewart, Andrew Thompson, and Andreas Thurnherr for helpful discussions. This work was funded by National Science Foundation Grant OPP-1644172.
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Subject Keywords:Abyssal circulation; Topographic effects; Boundary layer; Diapycnal mixing; Eddies; Ocean models
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200130-154916027
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:101017
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:31 Jan 2020 00:04
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 17:58

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