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Diffusively-driven overturning of a stable density gradient

Thompson, Andrew F. and Veronis, George (2005) Diffusively-driven overturning of a stable density gradient. Journal of Marine Research, 63 (1). pp. 291-313. ISSN 0022-2402. doi:10.1357/0022240053693743.

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We present the results of an experimental study on the formation and propagation of thermohaline intrusions from an initial state that is stably stratified in two diffusing components. The intrusions form in a layer that contains compensating horizontal gradients of the two components and that lies above a denser reservoir layer that is homogeneous. In the initial state, a vertical barrier separates the upper layer into two half layers each with a different concentration but with the same density. Differential diffusion of solute from the reservoir into the upper layer initiates intrusions that are separated by an interface and that move in opposite directions. The propagation of these intrusions is augmented by double-diffusive fluxes across the interface. Our experiments show that the formation of a diffusive interface between the two intrusions is a robust feature for all experiments that initially have a stable stratification in both diffusing components. A series of contrasting experiments with a fingering interface between the two intrusions was also performed using an initial density profile that favored fingering between part of the upper layer and the reservoir. A simple model is presented for intrusion propagation and density evolution in the intrusions, and the results are compared to measurements from the experiments. These experiments may help illuminate how thermohaline intrusions form in regions of the ocean where both temperature and salinity are stably stratified.

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Thompson, Andrew F.0000-0003-0322-4811
Additional Information:© 2005 Sears Foundation for Marine Research. Received: 12 August, 2004; revised: 28 October, 2004. We dedicate this paper to the memory of Nick Fofonoff, who contributed so much to advance our knowledge of the effects of temperature and salinity on oceanic motions. This work was started while AFT was a fellow at the GFD summer program at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in the summer of 2003. Jack Whitehead and Keith Bradley were both helpful in providing access to the laboratory. Further experiments were carried out at UCSD thanks to Paul Linden and Clint Winant. AFT also gratefully acknowledges the support of an NDSEG fellowship.
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National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20130125-085610809
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:36583
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:30 Jan 2013 19:27
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 23:23

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