Ocean turbulence and mixing around Sri Lanka and in adjacent waters of the northern Bay of Bengal

TitleOcean turbulence and mixing around Sri Lanka and in adjacent waters of the northern Bay of Bengal
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsJinadasa S.UP, Lozovatsky I., Planella-Morato J., Nash J.D, MacKinnon JA, Lucas A.J, Wijesekera H.W, Fernando H.JS
JournalOceanography
Volume29
Pagination170-179
Date Published2016/06
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number1042-8275
Accession NumberWOS:000380572500020
Keywordscirculation; monsoon; salt; Shear; tracers
Abstract

As a part of the US Air-Sea Interactions Regional Initiative, the first extensive set of turbulent kinetic energy dissipation rate (epsilon) measurements from microstructure profilers were obtained in the Bay of Bengal (BoB) and around Sri Lanka during 2013-2015. The observations span almost 1,200 km meridionally, and capture the dynamics associated with a variety of mesoscale and submesoscale features. High freshwater input in the northern part of the basin leads to regions of intense near-surface stratification, which become weaker moving south. The thin layers trap mechanical energy input from the atmosphere, often confining turbulence to the surface boundary layer. These thin layers can form shallow fronts, which at times resemble turbulent gravity currents (Sarkar et al., 2016, in this issue), and are associated with high levels of mixing. Away from the local frontal zones, turbulence in the surface low-salinity layer appears to be decoupled from the underlying pycnocline, where turbulence occurs only in rare and sporadic breaking events. A striking feature common to all of the data acquired is a dearth of turbulent mixing at depth, a condition that appears to be pervasive throughout the basin except during the passage of tropical storms. It is likely that the strong near-surface stratification effectively isolates the deeper water column from mechanical penetration of atmospheric energy.

DOI10.5670/oceanog.2016.49
Short TitleOceanography
Student Publication: 
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