Global estimates of seafloor slope from single-beam ship soundings

Becker, JJ, Sandwell DT.  2008.  Global estimates of seafloor slope from single-beam ship soundings. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 113

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abyssal hill morphology, deep-ocean, dissipation, energy, flanks, Internal tide generation, ridge, rough topography, satellite altimetry, variability


Rough topography on the ocean floor is a source of ocean mixing which is of interest to both physical oceanography and climate science. Most mixing has been attributed to high slopes of the large-scale structures of the deep ocean floor such as seamounts, continental margins, and mid-ocean ridge axes. In this paper, we show the small-scale but ubiquitous abyssal hills and fracture zones dominate the global map of rough topography. Much of this rugged seafloor occurs in the Southern Ocean on the flanks of the Pacific-Antarctic Rise and Southwest Indian Ridge. We present our results as a global map of the mean slope of the ocean floor, and as a global map of the ocean floor above the M(2) critical slope. We compare our results to multibeam and satellite bathymetry data to show that satellite bathymetry is not a valid proxy for multibeam measurements, but edited single-beam sonar data are adequate to provide a global perspective on features with horizontal wavelengths as small as 2 km.






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