Towards Improved Prediction of Turbulent Diapycnal Mixing in Oceanic Flows: Challenges and Insights

Subhas Karan Venayagamoorthy, Colorado State University, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Fort Collins, CO, United States
The understanding and quantitative prediction of diapycnal mixing in the oceans remains a crucial ongoing challenge. From a practical perspective, there is a critical need to obtain accurate prediction of turbulent heat, mass and momentum fluxes using indirect measurements in the field. Indirect methods for estimating mixing rates typically rely on the inference of three pertinent quantities namely: (i) the rate of dissipation of turbulent kinetic energy; (ii) the mixing efficiency, which is a measure of the amount of turbulent kinetic energy that is irreversibly converted into background potential energy; and (iii) the background density stratification, respectively. In this presentation, some key challenges, ambiguities and new insights will be presented on the inference of these three quantities with an eye toward improved prediction of ocean mixing.