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  • Author or Editor: T. R. Osborn x
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W. A. M. Nimmo Smith
,
J. Katz
, and
T. R. Osborn

Abstract

Six sets of particle image velocimetry (PIV) data from the bottom boundary layer of the coastal ocean are examined. The data represent periods when the mean currents are higher, of the same order, and much weaker than the wave-induced motions. The Reynolds numbers based on the Taylor microscale (Re λ ) are 300–440 for the high, 68–83 for the moderate, and 14–37 for the weak mean currents. The moderate–weak turbulence levels are typical of the calm weather conditions at the LEO-15 site because of the low velocities and limited range of length scales. The energy spectra display substantial anisotropy at moderate to high wavenumbers and have large bumps at the transition from the inertial to the dissipation range. These bumps have been observed in previous laboratory and atmospheric studies and have been attributed to a bottleneck effect. Spatial bandpass-filtered vorticity distributions demonstrate that this anisotropy is associated with formation of small-scale, horizontal vortical layers. Methods for estimating the dissipation rates are compared, including direct estimates based on all of the gradients available from 2D data, estimates based on gradients of one velocity component, and those obtained from curve fitting to the energy spectrum. The estimates based on vertical gradients of horizontal velocity are higher and show better agreement with the direct results than do those based on horizontal gradients of vertical velocity. Because of the anisotropy and low turbulence levels, a −5/3 line-fit to the energy spectrum leads to mixed results and is especially inadequate at moderate to weak turbulence levels. The 2D velocity and vorticity distributions reveal that the flow in the boundary layer at moderate speeds consists of periods of “gusts” dominated by large vortical structures separated by periods of more quiescent flows. The frequency of these gusts increases with Re λ , and they disappear when the currents are weak. Conditional sampling of the data based on vorticity magnitude shows that the anisotropy at small scales persists regardless of vorticity and that most of the variability associated with the gusts occurs at the low-wave-number ends of the spectra. The dissipation rates, being associated with small-scale structures, do not vary substantially with vorticity magnitude. In stark contrast, almost all the contributions to the Reynolds shear stresses, estimated using structure functions, are made by the high- and intermediate-vorticity-magnitude events. During low vorticity periods the shear stresses are essentially zero. Thus, in times with weak mean flow but with wave orbital motion, the Reynolds stresses are very low. Conditional sampling based on phase in the wave orbital cycle does not show any significant trends.

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B. Ozen
,
S. A. Thorpe
,
U. Lemmin
, and
T. R. Osborn

Abstract

Measurements of temperature, velocity, and microscale velocity shear were made from the research submarine F. A. Forel in the near-surface mixed layer of Lake Geneva under conditions of moderate winds of 6–8 m s−1 and of net heating at the water surface. The submarine carried arrays of thermistors and a turbulence package, including airfoil shear probes. The rate of dissipation of turbulent kinetic energy per unit mass, estimated from the variance of the shear, is found to be lognormally distributed and to vary with depth roughly in accordance with the law of the wall at the measurement depths, 15–20 times the significant wave height. Measurements revealed large-scale structures, coherent over the 2.38-m vertical extent sampled by a vertical array of thermistors, consisting of filaments tilted in the wind direction. They are typically about 1.5 m wide, decreasing in width in the upward direction, and are horizontally separated by about 25 m in the downwind direction. Originating in the upper thermocline, they are characterized in the mixed layer by their relatively low temperature and low rates of dissipation of turbulent kinetic energy and by an upward vertical velocity of a few centimeters per second.

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A. E. Gargett
,
P. J. Hendricks
,
T. B. Sanford
,
T. R. Osborn
, and
A. J. Williams

Abstract

Results from three separate velocity profilers operated nearly simultaneously in the northwest Atlantic in 1975 are used to form a composite shear spectrum over vertical wavelengths from 100 m down to a few centimeters. This exercise constitutes an intercomparison of the three different measurement techniques and reveals a shear spectrum which is approximately fiat at a WKB-scaled level from k = 0.01 cpm through k 0 ≈ 0.1 cpm, then falls as k −1 to a buoyancy wavenumber k 0 = (N 3/ε)1/2 determined by the local average Väisälä frequency N and the volume-averaged dissipation rate ε. Various consequences of the observed shear spectral shape are explored.

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S. A. Thorpe
,
T. R. Osborn
,
D. M. Farmer
, and
S. Vagle

Abstract

Concurrent measurements of the rate of dissipation of turbulent kinetic energy and the void fraction and size distribution of near-surface bubbles are described. Relatively high dissipation rates and void fractions are found in bubble bands produced by Langmuir circulation. The mean dissipation rates observed in the bands are close to those at which the dynamics of algae is significantly affected. The data are used to test basic assumptions underpinning models of subsurface bubbles and associated air–sea gas transfer. A simple model is used to examine the qualitative effect of Langmuir circulation on the vertical diffusion of bubbles and the representation of Langmuir circulation in models of gas transfer. The circulation is particularly effective in vertical bubble transfer when bubbles are injected by breaking waves to depths at which they are carried downward by the circulation against their tendency to rise. The estimated value of the ratio r of the eddy diffusivity of particles (resembling bubbles) K p to the eddy viscosity K z depends on depth z and on the form selected for K z . The effects of nonoverlapping or superimposed Langmuir cells of different size may be very different. Multiple nonoverlapping cells of similar scales with K z independent of depth can result in concentration profiles that resemble those of a law-of-the-wall K z . It is demonstrated that model prediction of bubble distributions and of gas transfer (which is related to bubble submergence time) is sensitive to K z and to the size distribution of Langmuir circulation cells.

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L. Luznik
,
W. Zhu
,
R. Gurka
,
J. Katz
,
W. A. M. Nimmo Smith
, and
T. R. Osborn

Abstract

Seven sets of 2D particle image velocimetry data obtained in the bottom boundary layer of the coastal ocean along the South Carolina and Georgia coast [at the South Atlantic Bight Synoptic Offshore Observational Network (SABSOON) site] are examined, covering the accelerating and decelerating phases of a single tidal cycle at several heights above the seabed. Additional datasets from a previous deployment are also included in the analysis. The mean velocity profiles are logarithmic, and the vertical distribution of Reynolds stresses normalized by the square of the free stream velocity collapse well for data obtained at the same elevation but at different phases of the tidal cycle. The magnitudes of 〈uu′〉, 〈ww′〉, and −〈uw′〉 decrease with height above bottom in the 25–160-cm elevation range and are consistent with the magnitudes and trends observed in laboratory turbulent boundary layers. If a constant stress layer exists, it is located below 25-cm elevation. Two methods for estimating dissipation rate are compared. The first, a direct estimate, is based on the measured in-plane instantaneous velocity gradients. The second method is based on fitting the resolved part of the dissipation spectrum to the universal dissipation spectrum available in Gargett et al. Being undervalued, the direct estimates are a factor of 2–2.5 smaller than the spectrum-based estimates. Taylor microscale Reynolds numbers for the present analysis range from 24 to 665. Anisotropy is present at all resolved scales. At the transition between inertial and dissipation range the longitudinal spectra exhibit a flatter than −5/3 slope and form spectral bumps. Second-order statistics of the velocity gradients show a tendency toward isotropy with increasing Reynolds number. Dissipation exceeds production at all measurement heights, but the difference varies with elevation. Close to the bottom, the production is 40%–70% of the dissipation, but it decreases to 10%–30% for elevations greater than 80 cm.

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S. A. Thorpe
,
T. R. Osborn
,
J. F. E. Jackson
,
A. J. Hall
, and
R. G. Lueck

Abstract

The rate of dissipation of turbulent kinetic energy has been measured with airfoil probes mounted on an autonomous vehicle, Autosub, on constant-depth legs at 2–10 m below the surface in winds up to 14 m s−1. The observations are mostly in an area limited by fetch to 26 km where the pycnocline depth is about 20 m. At the operational depths of 1.55–15.9 times the significant wave height H s , and in steady winds of about 11.6 m s−1 when the wave age is 11.7–17.2, dissipation is found to be lognormally distributed with a law-of-the-wall variation with depth and friction velocity. Breaking waves, leaving clouds of bubbles in the water, are detected ahead of the Autosub by a forward-pointing sidescan sonar, and the dissipation is measured when the clouds are subsequently reached. Bands of bubbles resulting from the presence of Langmuir circulation are identified by a semiobjective method that seeks continuity of band structure recognized by both forward- and sideways-pointing sidescan sonars. The times at which bands are crossed are determined and are used to relate dissipation rates and other measured parameters to the location of Langmuir bands. Shear-induced “temperature ramps” are identified with large horizontal temperature gradients. The turbulence measurements are consequently related to breaking waves, the bubble clouds, Langmuir circulation, and temperature ramps, and therefore to the principal processes of mixing in the near-surface layer of the ocean, all of which are found to have associated patterns of turbulent dissipation rates. A large proportion of the highest values of dissipation rate occur within bubble clouds. Dissipation is enhanced in the convergence region of Langmuir circulation at depths to about 10 m, and on the colder, bubble containing, side of temperature ramps associated with water advected downward from near the surface. Near the sea surface, turbulence is dominated by the breaking waves; below a depth of about 6H s the local vertical mixing in stronger Langmuir circulation cells exceeds that produced on average by the shear-induced eddies that form temperature ramps.

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S. A. Thorpe
,
J. A. M. Green
,
J. H. Simpson
,
T. R. Osborn
, and
W. A. M. Nimmo Smith

Abstract

Measurements of turbulence are made in a weakly but variably stratified region of tidal straining in the eastern Irish Sea using turbulence sensors profiling vertically through the water column on the Fast Light Yo-yo (FLY) profiler and horizontally on the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Autosub. The tidal currents exceed 1 m s−1 at the location of the measurements in water of a depth of about 43.5 m, and result in turbulence extending from the seabed to the surface with a cycle period that is half that of the tides, as previously observed. The time of onset of enhanced turbulence that is measured by the sensors on FLY and Autosub as the speed of tidal currents increases are in good agreement, as are their mean levels. Boils on the sea surface are identified using the Autonomously Recording Inverted Echo Sounder, version 2 (ARIES II), a two-beam upward-pointing side-scan sonar mounted on a rig resting on the seabed. The boils have mean horizontal dimensions of about 25 m. They are continually present when turbulence within the water column near the surface is large, typically when the rate of dissipation of turbulent kinetic energy per unit mass ε exceeds about 3 × 10−6 W kg−1, compared to the rate of about 1 × 10−7 W kg−1 near times of slack tide when no boils are observed. The top of a region with a relatively high ε gradually extends upward from the seabed as the tidal flow increases and, in stably stratified conditions resulting from tidal straining during ebb tides, can be detected in the ARIES II sonographs as it approaches the sea surface, although only after sound reflection from the sea surface. Upward-moving bursts of enhanced turbulence below the surface with horizontal dimensions of about 5–9 m in the direction of the tidal flow are identified in the AUV record in periods of high tidal flow using conditional sampling. The bursts result in slight upward displacements of the AUV from its set operational depth. Boils first appear at times before the region of generally enhanced turbulence reaches the surface: large localized upward-moving bursts appear to precede the main advancing region of small-scale turbulence.

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