A tale of two spicy seas

TitleA tale of two spicy seas
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsMacKinnon JA, Nash J.D, Alford MH, Lucas A.J, Mickett J.B, Shroyer E.L, Waterhouse A.F, Tandon A., Sengupta D., Mahadevan A., Ravichandran M., Pinkel R, Rudnick D.L, Whalen C.B, Alberty M.S, Lekha J.S, Fine E.C, Chaudhuri D., Wagner G.L
JournalOceanography
Volume29
Pagination50-61
Date Published2016/06
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number1042-8275
Accession NumberWOS:000380572500009
Keywordshorizontal density structure; impact; indian-ocean; mixed-layer instabilities; parameterization; restratification; spectra; surface-layer; turbulence; upper-ocean
Abstract

Upper-ocean turbulent heat fluxes in the Bay of Bengal and the Arctic Ocean drive regional monsoons and sea ice melt, respectively, important issues of societal interest. In both cases, accurate prediction of these heat transports depends on proper representation of the small-scale structure of vertical stratification, which in turn is created by a host of complex submesoscale processes. Though half a world apart and having dramatically different temperatures, there are surprising similarities between the two: both have (1) very fresh surface layers that are largely decoupled from the ocean below by a sharp halocline barrier, (2) evidence of interleaving lateral and vertical gradients that set upper-ocean stratification, and (3) vertical turbulent heat fluxes within the upper ocean that respond sensitively to these structures. However, there are clear differences in each ocean's horizontal scales of variability, suggesting that despite similar background states, the sharpening and evolution of mesoscale gradients at convergence zones plays out quite differently. Here, we conduct a qualitative and statistical comparison of these two seas, with the goal of bringing to light fundamental underlying dynamics that will hopefully improve the accuracy of forecast models in both parts of the world.

DOI10.5670/oceanog.2016.38
Short TitleOceanography
Student Publication: 
Yes
Student: 
sharknado