Overturning the ocean circulation

Session ID#: 28676

Session Description:
It has been established over the past few decades that deep-ocean turbulence plays a leading role in maintaining the oceanic meridional overturning circulation (MOC), which shapes the ocean's capacity in the redistribution, storage and ventilation of physical and biological tracers. Recent progress in computational resources has shed light on this topic by allowing for the resolution of finer turbulence in regional ocean models, as well as by making direct and large eddy simulations of such turbulent processes possible over ocean-relevant parameter ranges.  These new advances have also energized theoretical studies of turbulence and its impact on the MOC. Most importantly, accumulation of evidence from a handful of major field programs has motivated and informed all of the above. In this tutorial we briefly review the above-mentioned observational, theoretical and computational advances, and discuss their implications for the MOC and the climate system. It increasingly seems that small-scale turbulence not only facilitates ventilation of the deep and abyssal oceans (a millennial-scale phenomena), but is relevant on time scales as short as decadal through short-circuiting of information between the lower and upper oceans at turbulent hotspots around rough topographic features, continental margins and in the Southern Ocean.
Primary Presenter:  Ali Mashayek, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA, United States
Presenter:  Sheldon Bacon, University of Southampton, Ocean and Earth Sciences, Southampton, SO14, United Kingdom
Index Terms:

4532 General circulation [OCEANOGRAPHY: PHYSICAL]
4536 Hydrography and tracers [OCEANOGRAPHY: PHYSICAL]
4562 Topographic/bathymetric interactions [OCEANOGRAPHY: PHYSICAL]
4568 Turbulence, diffusion, and mixing processes [OCEANOGRAPHY: PHYSICAL]
  • OM - Ocean Modeling
  • PC - Past, Present and Future Climate
  • PL - Physical Oceanography: Mesoscale and Larger
  • PS - Physical Oceanography: Mesoscale and Smaller

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