University of Cambridge > > Institute for Energy and Environmental Flows (IEEF) > Mixing in oceanic (and laboratory) overflows

Mixing in oceanic (and laboratory) overflows

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This study proposes a new empirical parameterization for entrainment in dense currents that has been obtained using a data set which includes oceanic and laboratory data. The proposed parameterization presents two novelties when compared to the present available parameterizations. First, it depends on both the Froude number, Fr, and Reynolds number, Re, of the flow and it accurately predicts both ocean and laboratory estimates of mixing. Second, it takes into account subcritical (Fr< 1) mixing. The subcritical mixing observed in previous laboratory experiments could be of fundamental importance when determining the final water mass characteristics of a dense current descending the continental slope. A weak, but non zero entrainment can substantially change the final density and location in the open ocean water column of important water masses, such as the North Atlantic Deep Water. To test this new entrainment parameterization, we used a “stream tube” model employing both the new and classical parameterizations. The stream tube model predictions are consistent with previous laboratory observations when the new entrainment parameterization is used.

This talk is part of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Flows (IEEF) series.

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