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A thermohaline inverse method for estimating diathermohaline circulation and mixing


Groeskamp, S and Zika, JD and Sloyan, BM and McDougall, TJ and McIntosh, PC, A thermohaline inverse method for estimating diathermohaline circulation and mixing, Journal of Physical Oceanography, 44, (10) pp. 2681-2697. ISSN 0022-3670 (2014) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

Copyright 2014 American Meteorological Society

DOI: doi:10.1175/JPO-D-14-0039.1


The thermohaline inverse method (THIM) is presented that provides estimates of the diathermohaline streamfunction ΨdiaSAΘ, the downgradient along-isopycnal diffusion coefficient K, and the isotropic downgradient turbulent diffusion coefficient D of small-scale mixing processes. This is accomplished by using the water mass transformation framework in two tracer dimensions: here in Absolute Salinity SA and Conservative Temperature Θ coordinates. The authors show that a diathermal volume transport down a Conservative Temperature gradient is related to surface heating and cooling and mixing, and a diahaline volume transport down an Absolute Salinity gradient is related to surface freshwater fluxes and mixing. Both the diahaline and diathermal flows can be calculated using readily observed parameters that are used to produce climatologies, surface flux products, and mixing parameterizations for K and D. Conservation statements for volume, salt, and heat in (SA, Θ) coordinates, using the diahaline and diathermal volume transport expressed as surface freshwater and heat fluxes and mixing, allow for the formulation of a system of equations that is solved by an inverse method that can estimate the unknown diathermohaline streamfunction ΨdiaSAΘ and the diffusion coefficients K and D. The inverse solution provides an accurate estimate of ΨdiaSAΘ, K, and D when tested against a numerical climate model for which all these parameters are known.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:circulation/dynamics, conservation equations, mixing, ocean circulation, streamfunction, mathematical and statistical techniques, inverse methods, models and modeling, diagnostics
Research Division:Physical Sciences
Research Group:Other physical sciences
Research Field:Other physical sciences not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Marine systems and management
Objective Field:Measurement and assessment of marine water quality and condition
UTAS Author:Groeskamp, S (Mr Sjoerd Groeskamp)
ID Code:96116
Year Published:2014
Web of Science® Times Cited:13
Deposited By:IMAS Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2014-10-20
Last Modified:2017-09-04

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