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Suppression of eddy diffusivity across jets in the Southern Ocean


Ferrari, R and Nikurashin, M, Suppression of eddy diffusivity across jets in the Southern Ocean, Journal of Physical Oceanography, 40, (July) pp. 1501-1519. ISSN 0022-3670 (2010) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2010 American Meteorological Society

DOI: doi:10.1175/2010JPO4278.1


Geostrophic eddies control the meridional mixing of heat, carbon, and other climatically important tracers in the Southern Ocean. The rate of eddy mixing is typically quantified through an eddy diffusivity. There is an ongoing debate as to whether eddy mixing in enhanced in the core of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current or on its flanks. A simple expression is derived that predicts the rate of eddy mixing, that is, the eddy diffusivity, as a function of eddy and mean current statistics. This novel expression predicts suppression of the cross-jet eddy diffusivity in the core of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, despite enhanced values of eddy kinetic energy. The expression is qualitatively and quantitatively validated by independent estimates of eddy mixing from altimetry observations. This work suggests that the meridional eddy diffusivity across the Antarctic Circumpolar Current is weaker than presently assumed because of the suppression of eddy mixing by the strong zonal current.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:oceanic eddies, tracer transport, effective diffusivity, satellite altimetry, suppression, barrier to mixing
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Physical oceanography
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Understanding climate change
Objective Field:Climate change models
UTAS Author:Nikurashin, M (Dr Maxim Nikurashin)
ID Code:79717
Year Published:2010
Web of Science® Times Cited:159
Deposited By:IMAS Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2012-10-01
Last Modified:2012-11-21

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