Mixing Measurements on an Equatorial Ocean Mooring

J. N. Moum College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon

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J. D. Nash College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon

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Abstract

Vaned, internally recording instruments that measure temperature fluctuations using FP07 thermistors, including fluctuations in the turbulence wavenumber band, have been built, tested, and deployed on a Tropical Atmosphere Ocean (TAO) mooring at 0°, 140°W. These were supplemented with motion packages that measure linear accelerations, from which an assessment of cable displacement and speed was made. Motions due to vortex-induced vibrations caused by interaction of the mean flow with the cable are small (rms < 0.15 cable diameters) and unlikely to affect estimates of the temperature variance dissipation rate χT. Surface wave–induced cable motions are significant, commonly resulting in vertical displacements of ±1 m and vertical speeds of ±0.5 m s−1 on 2–10-s periods. These motions produce an enhancement to the measurement of temperature gradient in the surface wave band herein that is equal to the product of the vertical cable speed and the vertical temperature gradient (i.e., dT/dtwcdT/dz). However, the temperature gradient spectrum is largely unaltered at higher and lower frequencies; in particular, there exists a clear scale separation between frequencies contaminated by surface waves and the turbulence subrange. The effect of cable motions on spectral estimates of χT is evaluated and determined to result in acceptably small uncertainties (< a factor of two 95% of the time, based on 60-s averages). Time series of χT and the inferred turbulent kinetic energy dissipation rate ε are consistent with historical data from the same equatorial location.

Corresponding author address: J. N. Moum, College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University, COAS Admin. Bldg. 104, Corvallis, OR 97331–5503. Email: moum@coas.oregonstate.edu

Abstract

Vaned, internally recording instruments that measure temperature fluctuations using FP07 thermistors, including fluctuations in the turbulence wavenumber band, have been built, tested, and deployed on a Tropical Atmosphere Ocean (TAO) mooring at 0°, 140°W. These were supplemented with motion packages that measure linear accelerations, from which an assessment of cable displacement and speed was made. Motions due to vortex-induced vibrations caused by interaction of the mean flow with the cable are small (rms < 0.15 cable diameters) and unlikely to affect estimates of the temperature variance dissipation rate χT. Surface wave–induced cable motions are significant, commonly resulting in vertical displacements of ±1 m and vertical speeds of ±0.5 m s−1 on 2–10-s periods. These motions produce an enhancement to the measurement of temperature gradient in the surface wave band herein that is equal to the product of the vertical cable speed and the vertical temperature gradient (i.e., dT/dtwcdT/dz). However, the temperature gradient spectrum is largely unaltered at higher and lower frequencies; in particular, there exists a clear scale separation between frequencies contaminated by surface waves and the turbulence subrange. The effect of cable motions on spectral estimates of χT is evaluated and determined to result in acceptably small uncertainties (< a factor of two 95% of the time, based on 60-s averages). Time series of χT and the inferred turbulent kinetic energy dissipation rate ε are consistent with historical data from the same equatorial location.

Corresponding author address: J. N. Moum, College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University, COAS Admin. Bldg. 104, Corvallis, OR 97331–5503. Email: moum@coas.oregonstate.edu

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