Local Influences on Shear-Flow Turbulence in the Equatorial Ocean

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Science  18 Oct 1985:
Vol. 230, Issue 4723, pp. 315-316
DOI: 10.1126/science.230.4723.315


A 12-day series of 1749 profiles of turbulent kinetic energy dissipation above the equatorial undercurrent at 140° west showed that, in the upper 110 meters of the ocean, the dissipation radically decreased during the solar heating period each day. Daily averages were linearly related to the local wind power. When integrated over the depth range of 10 to 110 meters, the dissipation was 10.6 ergs per square centimeter per second or 0.92 ± 0.10 percent of the wind power, a proportion not substantially different from those found in mid-latitude surface mixed layers. These results suggest that much of the energy dissipated above the equatorial undercurrent may be extracted directly from the local wind.