University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > British Antarctic Survey - Polar Oceans seminar series > Intense nutrient upwelling and PV mixing in oceanic anti-cyclones caused by submesoscale instabilities

Intense nutrient upwelling and PV mixing in oceanic anti-cyclones caused by submesoscale instabilities

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Numerous observations from the Norwegian Seas to the Southern Ocean show the presence of anomalously high biological activity in anti-cyclonic eddies. This high productivity suggests that upwelling of nutrient-rich water from the thermocline occurs inside anti-cyclonic eddies. However, this upwelling is not captured by existing climate models and so hinders efforts to close the carbon budget. The upwelling process is considered here from a potential vorticity viewpoint. High resolution numerical simulations show intense upwelling of high PV filaments from the thermocline in anti-cyclonic eddies and that the most likely cause of this upwelling is symmetric instability. It is shown that anti-cyclonic eddies are highly unstable to symmetric instability and that this induces mixing of potential vorticity along stratification surfaces with cyclogenesis effects analogous to those in the troposphere.

This talk is part of the British Antarctic Survey - Polar Oceans seminar series series.

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