Report

Enhanced Diapycnal Mixing by Salt Fingers in the Thermocline of the Tropical Atlantic

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  29 Apr 2005:
Vol. 308, Issue 5722, pp. 685-688
DOI: 10.1126/science.1108678

You are currently viewing the abstract.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution

Abstract

Diapycnal mixing plays a significant role in the ocean's circulation and uptake of heat and carbon dioxide, but has not been quantified in salt finger–driven thermohaline staircases. We recently performed a tracer release experiment in the western tropical Atlantic staircase at ∼400 m depth. The observed dispersion implies an effective diapycnal diffusivity for tracer and salt of 0.8 to 0.9 × 10–4 m2/s. Temperature microstructure data interpreted in terms of a vertical production-dissipation balance yields a smaller effective diffusivity for heat of 0.45 (± 0.2) × 10–4 m2/s, consistent with salt fingers and well above the mixing ascribable to mechanical turbulence.

View Full Text