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Dynamics of an Abyssal Circulation Driven by Bottom-Intensified Mixing on Slopes

Callies, Jörn and Ferrari, Raffaele (2018) Dynamics of an Abyssal Circulation Driven by Bottom-Intensified Mixing on Slopes. Journal of Physical Oceanography, 48 (6). pp. 1257-1282. ISSN 0022-3670. doi:10.1175/JPO-D-17-0125.1.

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The large-scale circulation of the abyssal ocean is enabled by small-scale diapycnal mixing, which observations suggest is strongly enhanced toward the ocean bottom, where the breaking of internal tides and lee waves is most vigorous. As discussed recently, bottom-intensified mixing induces a pattern of near-bottom up- and downwelling that is quite different from the traditionally assumed widespread upwelling. Here the consequences of bottom-intensified mixing for the horizontal circulation of the abyssal ocean are explored by considering planetary geostrophic dynamics in an idealized “bathtub geometry.” Up- and downwelling layers develop on bottom slopes as expected, and these layers are well described by boundary layer theory. The basin-scale circulation is driven by flows in and out of these boundary layers at the base of the sloping topography, which creates primarily zonal currents in the interior and a net meridional exchange along western boundaries. The rate of the net overturning is controlled by the up- and downslope transports in boundary layers on slopes and can be predicted with boundary layer theory.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription
Callies, Jörn0000-0002-6815-1230
Ferrari, Raffaele0000-0003-1895-4294
Additional Information:© 2018 American Meteorological Society. (Manuscript received 27 June 2017, in final form 30 March 2018) We thank Chris Garrett and Carl Wunsch for stimulating discussions. Support from the U.S. National Science Foundation through Grants OCE-1233832 and OCE-1736109 and from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration through Grant NNX16AH77G is gratefully acknowledged.
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Issue or Number:6
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20180718-150324617
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Official Citation:Callies, J. and R. Ferrari, 2018: Dynamics of an Abyssal Circulation Driven by Bottom-Intensified Mixing on Slopes. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 48, 1257–1282,
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:87970
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:18 Jul 2018 22:12
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 00:22

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