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Subsurface Mixed Layers in the Northwestern Tropical Atlantic

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  • 1 U.S. Naval Oceanographic Office, Washington, D. C. 20373
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Abstract

Subsurface mixed layers have been observed during three seasons in the area east of the Lesser Antilles to about 50W, between 18N and the South American coast. The thermohaline stratification of this area occurs in the lower part of the thermocline-halocline, between about 200 and 750 m. The approximate life span of many mixed layers was rather short, but some lasted 24 hr. The largest number of occurrences was in the 0–2 and 2–4 hr periods. The vertical heat flux was 3–6 times larger than the salt flux in samples of isopycnal layers with compensating vertical temperature and salinity gradients. Between depths of 200 and 750 m, negative stability occurred in 12% of 5 m vertical intervals.

Abstract

Subsurface mixed layers have been observed during three seasons in the area east of the Lesser Antilles to about 50W, between 18N and the South American coast. The thermohaline stratification of this area occurs in the lower part of the thermocline-halocline, between about 200 and 750 m. The approximate life span of many mixed layers was rather short, but some lasted 24 hr. The largest number of occurrences was in the 0–2 and 2–4 hr periods. The vertical heat flux was 3–6 times larger than the salt flux in samples of isopycnal layers with compensating vertical temperature and salinity gradients. Between depths of 200 and 750 m, negative stability occurred in 12% of 5 m vertical intervals.

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