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Marcus Dengler and Detlef Quadfasel

Abstract

Vertical profiles of horizontal currents and hydrographic measurements from three cruises along 80.5°E from the coast of Sri Lanka to 6°S between December 1990 and September 1994 are used to investigate the scales of the Indian Ocean deep jets as well as internal wave parameters and dissipation at the equator. The deep jets at 80.5°E have a vertical wavelength of 660 sm (stretched meters) and amplitudes exceeding 10 cm s−1 in zonal velocity. They are observed throughout the water column and their flow direction reverses at 2° off the equator. The vertical positions of the jets differ among the cruises and are consistent with a flow reversal between the data collected in winter and summer. During September 1994, the jets were less pronounced. Due to the meridional distribution of their zonal velocity and the phase relationship between zonal velocity and vertical displacement, the jets are best described as nondispersive first-mode equatorial Rossby waves. The hydrographic data revealed thick layers of low stratification with vertical scales of 15–55 m in the upper 2000 m of the water column. They are found primarily within 1° of the equator and there is some evidence of correlation between the vertical position as well as the extent and the high strain zones of the deep jets. At vertical wavenumbers larger than those of the deep jets, shear and strain levels are five times larger than at off-equatorial locations and the compliant internal wave range (“roll-off range”) begins at a smaller wavenumber (k c ≈ 0.02 cpsm). An estimate of the average dissipation rate within the deep jets yielded ϵ = 7.5 × 10−10 W kg−1 between 500- and 2000-m depth. The elevated finescale internal wave field appears to be the main cause for the existence of the low stratification layers.

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Jürgen Fischer, Friedrich A. Schott, and Marcus Dengler

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The deep circulation and related transports of the southern Labrador Sea are determined from direct current observations from ship surveys and a moored current-meter array. The measurements covered a time span from summer 1997 to 1999 and show a well-defined deep boundary current extending approximately out to the 3300-m depth contour and weak reverse currents farther offshore. The flow has a strong barotropic component, and significant baroclinic flow is only found in the shallow Labrador Current at the shelf break and associated with a deep core of Denmark Strait Overflow Water. The total deep-water transport below σ Θ = 27.74 kg m−3 was 26 ± 5 Sv (Sv ≡ 106 m3 s−1) comprising Labrador Sea Water (LSW), Gibbs Fracture Zone Water (GFZW), and Denmark Strait Overflow Water (DSOW). Intraseasonal variability of the flow and transport was high, ranging from 15 to 35 Sv, and the annual means differed by 17%. A seasonal cycle is confined to the shallow Labrador Current; in its deeper part, where the mean flow is still strong, no obvious seasonality could be detected. The transport of the interior anticyclonic recirculation was estimated from lowered acoustic Doppler current profiler stations and geostrophy, yielding about 9 Sv. Thus, the net deep-water outflow from the Labrador Sea was about 17 Sv. The baroclinic transport of GFZW and DSOW referenced to the depth of the isopycnal σ Θ = 27.80 kg m−3 is only about one-third of the total transport in these layers. Longer-term variations of the total transports are not represented well by the baroclinic contribution.

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Jürgen Fischer, Peter Brandt, Marcus Dengler, Mario Müller, and Darryl Symonds

Abstract

A new shipboard current profiler, a 75-kHz ocean surveyor, was operationally used during two research cruises in the tropical Atlantic and the subpolar North Atlantic, respectively. Here, a report is presented on the first experience with this instrument in two very different current regimes, in the Tropics with large vertical shears, and in the subpolar regime with mainly barotropic flow. The ocean surveyor continuously measured currents in the upper ocean from near the surface to about 500–700-m depth. The measurement range showed a dependence on the regional and temporal variations of scattering particles and on the intensity of swell and wind waves. Statistical comparisons are performed with on-station lowered acoustic Doppler current profiler (LADCP) profiles and underway measurements by classic shipboard acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP) measurements. Accuracy estimates for hourly averaged ocean surveyor currents result in errors of about 1 cm s–1 for on-station data and of 2–4 cm s–1 for underway measurements, depending on the regional abundance of scatterers and on the weather conditions encountered.

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Friedrich A. Schott, Rainer Zantopp, Lothar Stramma, Marcus Dengler, Jürgen Fischer, and Mathieu Wibaux

Abstract

The current system east of the Grand Banks was intensely observed by World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE) array ACM-6 during 1993–95 with eight moorings, reaching about 500 km out from the shelf edge and covering the water column from about 400-m depth to the bottom. More recently, a reduced array by the Institut für Meerskunde (IfM) at Kiel, Germany, of four moorings was deployed during 1999–2001, focusing on the deep-water flow near the western continental slope. Both sets of moored time series, each about 22 months long, are combined here for a mean current boundary section, and both arrays are analyzed for the variability of currents and transports. A mean hydrographic section is derived from seven ship surveys and is used for geostrophic upper-layer extrapolation and isopycnal subdivision of the mean transports into deep-water classes. The offshore part of the combined section is dominated by the deep-reaching North Atlantic Current (NAC) with currents still at 10 cm s−1 near the bottom and a total northward transport of about 140 Sv (Sv ≡ 106 m3 s−1), with the details depending on the method of surface extrapolation used. The mean flow along the western boundary was southward with the section-mean North Atlantic Deep Water outflow determined to be 12 Sv below the σ θ = 27.74 kg m−3 isopycnal. However, east of the deep western boundary current (DWBC), the deep NAC carries a transport of 51 Sv northward below σ θ = 27.74 kg m−3, resulting in a large net northward flow in the western part of the basin. From watermass signatures it is concluded that the deep NAC is not a direct recirculation of DWBC water masses. Transport time series for the DWBC variability are derived for both arrays. The variance is concentrated in the period range from ∼2 weeks to 2 months, but there are also variations at interannual and longer periods, with much of the DWBC variability being related to fluctuations and meandering of the NAC. A significant annual cycle is not recognizable in the combined current and transport time series of both arrays. The moored array results are compared with other evidence on deep outflow and recirculation, including recent models of different types and complexity.

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Friedrich A. Schott, Marcus Dengler, Rainer Zantopp, Lothar Stramma, Jürgen Fischer, and Peter Brandt

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Repeated shipboard observation sections across the boundary flow off northeastern Brazil as well as acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP) and current-meter records from a moored boundary array deployed during 2000–04 near 11°S are analyzed here for both the northward warm water flow by the North Brazil Undercurrent (NBUC) above approximately 1100 m and the southward flow of North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW) underneath. At 5°S, the mean from nine sections yields an NBUC transport of 26.5 ± 3.7 Sv (Sv ≡ 106 m3 s−1) along the boundary; at 11°S the mean NBUC transport from five sections is 25.4 ± 7.4 Sv, confirming that the NBUC is already well developed at 11°S. At both latitudes a persistent offshore southward recirculation between 200- and 1100-m depth reduces the net northward warm water flow through the 5°S section (west of 31.5°W) to 22.1 ± 5.3 Sv and through the 11°S section to 21.7 ± 4.1 Sv (west of 32.0°W). The 4-yr-long NBUC transport time series from 11°S yields a seasonal cycle of 2.5 Sv amplitude with its northward maximum in July. Interannual NBUC transport variations are small, varying only by ±1.2 Sv during the four years, with no detectable trend. The southward flow of NADW within the deep western boundary current at 5°S is 25.5 ± 8.3 Sv with an offshore northward recirculation, yielding a nine-section mean of 20.3 ± 10.1 Sv west of 31.5°W. For Antarctic Bottom Water, a net northward flow of 4.4 ± 3.0 Sv is determined at 5°S. For the 11°S section, the moored array data show a pronounced energy maximum at 60–70-day period in the NADW depth range, which was identified in related work as deep eddies translating southward along the boundary. Based on a kinematic eddy model fit to the first half of the moored time series, the mean NADW transfer by the deep eddies at 11°S was estimated to be about 17 Sv. Given the large interannual variability of the deep near-boundary transport time series, which ranged from 14 to 24 Sv, the 11°S mean was considered to be not distinguishable from the mean at 5°S.

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Robert Kopte, Peter Brandt, Martin Claus, Richard J. Greatbatch, and Marcus Dengler

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Multiyear moored velocity observations of the Angola Current near 11°S reveal a weak southward mean flow superimposed by substantial intraseasonal to seasonal variability, including annual and semiannual cycles with distinct baroclinic structures. In the equatorial Atlantic these oscillations are associated with basin-mode resonances of the fourth and second baroclinic modes, respectively. Here, the role of basin-mode resonance and local forcing for the Angola Current seasonality is investigated. A suite of linear shallow-water models for the tropical Atlantic is employed, each model representing a single baroclinic mode forced at a specific period. The annually and semiannually oscillating forcing is given by 1) an idealized zonally uniform zonal forcing restricted to the equatorial band corresponding to a remote equatorial forcing or 2) realistic, spatially varying Fourier components of wind stress data that include local forcing off Angola, particularly alongshore winds. Model-computed modal amplitudes are scaled to match moored velocity observations from the equatorial Atlantic. The observed annual cycle of alongshore velocity at 11°S is well reproduced by the remote equatorial forcing. Including local forcing slightly improves the agreement between observed and simulated semiannual oscillations at 11°S compared to the purely equatorial forcing. However, the model-computed semiannual cycle lacks amplitude at middepth. This could be the result of either underestimating the strength of the second equatorial basin mode of the fourth baroclinic mode or other processes not accounted for in the shallow-water models. Overall, the findings underline the importance of large-scale linear equatorial wave dynamics for the seasonal variability of the boundary circulation off Angola.

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Lucas Merckelbach, Anja Berger, Gerd Krahmann, Marcus Dengler, and Jeffrey R. Carpenter

Abstract

The turbulent dissipation rate ε is a key parameter to many oceanographic processes. Recently, gliders have been increasingly used as a carrier for microstructure sensors. Compared to conventional ship-based methods, glider-based microstructure observations allow for long-duration measurements under adverse weather conditions and at lower costs. The incident water velocity U is an input parameter for the calculation of the dissipation rate. Since U cannot be measured using the standard glider sensor setup, the parameter is normally computed from a steady-state glider flight model. As ε scales with U2 or U4, depending on whether it is computed from temperature or shear microstructure, respectively, flight model errors can introduce a significant bias. This study is the first to use measurements of in situ glider flight, obtained with a profiling Doppler velocity log and an electromagnetic current meter, to test and calibrate a flight model, extended to include inertial terms. Compared to a previously suggested flight model, the calibrated model removes a bias of approximately 1 cm s−1 in the incident water velocity, which translates to roughly a factor of 1.2 in estimates of the dissipation rate. The results further indicate that 90% of the estimates of the dissipation rate from the calibrated model are within a factor of 1.1 and 1.2 for measurements derived from microstructure temperature sensors and shear probes, respectively. We further outline the range of applicability of the flight model.

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