Spatial Variability of Turbulent Mixing in the Abyssal Ocean

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Science  04 Apr 1997:
Vol. 276, Issue 5309, pp. 93-96
DOI: 10.1126/science.276.5309.93

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Ocean microstructure data show that turbulent mixing in the deep Brazil Basin of the South Atlantic Ocean is weak at all depths above smooth abyssal plains and the South American Continental Rise. The diapycnal diffusivity there was estimated to be less than or approximately equal to 0.1 × 104Embedded Image4 meters squared per second. In contrast, mixing rates are large throughout the water column above the rough Mid-Atlantic Ridge, and the diffusivity deduced for the bottom-most 150 meters exceeds 5 × 104Embedded Image4 meters squared per second. Such patterns in vertical mixing imply that abyssal circulations have complex spatial structures that are linked to the underlying bathymetry.

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