Publications

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2018
Fine, EC, MacKinnon JA, Alford MH, Mickett JB.  2018.  Microstructure observations of turbulent heat fluxes in a warm-core Canada Basin eddy. Journal of Physical Oceanography. 48:2397-2418.   10.1175/jpo-d-18-0028.1   AbstractWebsite

An intrahalocline eddy was observed on the Chukchi slope in September of 2015 using both towed CTD and microstructure temperature and shear sections. The core of the eddy was 6 degrees C, significantly warmer than the surrounding -1 degrees C water and far exceeding typical temperatures of warm-core Arctic eddies. Microstructure sections indicated that outside of the eddy the rate of dissipation of turbulent kinetic energy epsilon was quite low . Three different processes were associated with elevated epsilon. Double-diffusive steps were found at the eddy's top edge and were associated with an upward heat flux of 5 W m(-2). At the bottom edge of the eddy, shear-driven mixing played a modest role, generating a heat flux of approximately 0.5 W m(-2) downward. Along the sides of the eddy, density-compensated thermohaline intrusions transported heat laterally out of the eddy, with a horizontal heat flux of 2000 W m(-2). Integrating these fluxes over an idealized approximation of the eddy's shape, we estimate that the net heat transport due to thermohaline intrusions along the eddy flanks was 2 GW, while the double-diffusive flux above the eddy was 0.4 GW. Shear-driven mixing at the bottom of the eddy accounted for only 0.04 GW. If these processes continued indefinitely at the same rate, the estimated life-span would be 1-2 years. Such eddies may be an important mechanism for the transport of Pacific-origin heat, freshwater, and nutrients into the Canada Basin.

2007
Thompson, AF, Gille ST, MacKinnon JA, Sprintall J.  2007.  Spatial and temporal patterns of small-scale mixing in Drake Passage. Journal of Physical Oceanography. 37:572-592.   10.1175/jpo3021.1   AbstractWebsite

Temperature and salinity profiles obtained with expendable CTD probes throughout Drake Passage between February 2002 and July 2005 are analyzed to estimate turbulent diapycnal eddy diffusivities to a depth of 1000 m. Diffusivity values are inferred from density/temperature inversions and internal wave vertical strain. Both methods reveal the same pattern of spatial variability across Drake Passage; diffusivity estimates from inversions exceed those from vertical strain by a factor of 3 over most of Drake Passage. The Polar Front (PF) separates two dynamically different regions. Strong thermohaline intrusions characterize profiles obtained north of the PF. South of the PF, stratification is determined largely by salinity, and temperature is typically unstably stratified between 100- and 600-m depth. In the upper 400 m, turbulent diapycnal diffusivities are 0(10(-3) m(2) s(-1)) north of the PF but decrease to 0(10(-3) m(2) s(-1)) or smaller south of the PF. Below 400 m diffusivities typically exceed 10(-4) m(2) s(-1). Diffusivities decay weakly with depth north of the PF, whereas diffusivities increase with depth and peak near the local temperature maximum south of the PF. The meridional pattern in near-surface mixing corresponds to local maxima and minima of both wind stress and wind stress variance. Near-surface diffusivities are also found to be larger during winter months north of the PF. Wind-driven near-inertial waves, strong mesoscale eddy activity, and double-diffusive convection are suggested as possible factors contributing to observed mixing patterns.