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Peter E. Hamlington
,
Luke P. Van Roekel
,
Baylor Fox-Kemper
,
Keith Julien
, and
Gregory P. Chini

Abstract

The interactions between boundary layer turbulence, including Langmuir turbulence, and submesoscale processes in the oceanic mixed layer are described using large-eddy simulations of the spindown of a temperature front in the presence of submesoscale eddies, winds, and waves. The simulations solve the surface-wave-averaged Boussinesq equations with Stokes drift wave forcing at a resolution that is sufficiently fine to capture small-scale Langmuir turbulence. A simulation without Stokes drift forcing is also performed for comparison. Spatial and spectral properties of temperature, velocity, and vorticity fields are described, and these fields are scale decomposed in order to examine multiscale fluxes of momentum and buoyancy. Buoyancy flux results indicate that Langmuir turbulence counters the restratifying effects of submesoscale eddies, leading to small-scale vertical transport and mixing that is 4 times greater than in the simulations without Stokes drift forcing. The observed fluxes are also shown to be in good agreement with results from an asymptotic analysis of the surface-wave-averaged, or Craik–Leibovich, equations. Regions of potential instability in the flow are identified using Richardson and Rossby numbers, and it is found that mixed gravitational/symmetric instabilities are nearly twice as prevalent when Langmuir turbulence is present, in contrast to simulations without Stokes drift forcing, which are dominated by symmetric instabilities. Mixed layer depth calculations based on potential vorticity and temperature show that the mixed layer is up to 2 times deeper in the presence of Langmuir turbulence. Differences between measures of the mixed layer depth based on potential vorticity and temperature are smaller in the simulations with Stokes drift forcing, indicating a reduced incidence of symmetric instabilities in the presence of Langmuir turbulence.

Full access
Gregory C. Johnson
,
Rick Lumpkin
,
Simone R. Alin
,
Dillon J. Amaya
,
Molly O. Baringer
,
Tim Boyer
,
Peter Brandt
,
Brendan R. Carter
,
Ivona Cetinić
,
Don P. Chambers
,
Lijing Cheng
,
Andrew U. Collins
,
Cathy Cosca
,
Ricardo Domingues
,
Shenfu Dong
,
Richard A. Feely
,
Eleanor Frajka-Williams
,
Bryan A. Franz
,
John Gilson
,
Gustavo Goni
,
Benjamin D. Hamlington
,
Josefine Herrford
,
Zeng-Zhen Hu
,
Boyin Huang
,
Masayoshi Ishii
,
Svetlana Jevrejeva
,
John J. Kennedy
,
Marion Kersalé
,
Rachel E. Killick
,
Peter Landschützer
,
Matthias Lankhorst
,
Eric Leuliette
,
Ricardo Locarnini
,
John M. Lyman
,
John J. Marra
,
Christopher S. Meinen
,
Mark A. Merrifield
,
Gary T. Mitchum
,
Ben I. Moat
,
R. Steven Nerem
,
Renellys C. Perez
,
Sarah G. Purkey
,
James Reagan
,
Alejandra Sanchez-Franks
,
Hillary A. Scannell
,
Claudia Schmid
,
Joel P. Scott
,
David A. Siegel
,
David A. Smeed
,
Paul W. Stackhouse
,
William Sweet
,
Philip R. Thompson
,
Joaquin A. Triñanes
,
Denis L. Volkov
,
Rik Wanninkhof
,
Robert A. Weller
,
Caihong Wen
,
Toby K. Westberry
,
Matthew J. Widlansky
,
Anne C. Wilber
,
Lisan Yu
, and
Huai-Min Zhang
Free access
Molly Baringer
,
Mariana B. Bif
,
Tim Boyer
,
Seth M. Bushinsky
,
Brendan R. Carter
,
Ivona Cetinić
,
Don P. Chambers
,
Lijing Cheng
,
Sanai Chiba
,
Minhan Dai
,
Catia M. Domingues
,
Shenfu Dong
,
Andrea J. Fassbender
,
Richard A. Feely
,
Eleanor Frajka-Williams
,
Bryan A. Franz
,
John Gilson
,
Gustavo Goni
,
Benjamin D. Hamlington
,
Zeng-Zhen Hu
,
Boyin Huang
,
Masayoshi Ishii
,
Svetlana Jevrejeva
,
William E. Johns
,
Gregory C. Johnson
,
Kenneth S. Johnson
,
John Kennedy
,
Marion Kersalé
,
Rachel E. Killick
,
Peter Landschützer
,
Matthias Lankhorst
,
Tong Lee
,
Eric Leuliette
,
Feili Li
,
Eric Lindstrom
,
Ricardo Locarnini
,
Susan Lozier
,
John M. Lyman
,
John J. Marra
,
Christopher S. Meinen
,
Mark A. Merrifield
,
Gary T. Mitchum
,
Ben Moat
,
Didier Monselesan
,
R. Steven Nerem
,
Renellys C. Perez
,
Sarah G. Purkey
,
Darren Rayner
,
James Reagan
,
Nicholas Rome
,
Alejandra Sanchez-Franks
,
Claudia Schmid
,
Joel P. Scott
,
Uwe Send
,
David A. Siegel
,
David A. Smeed
,
Sabrina Speich
,
Paul W. Stackhouse Jr.
,
William Sweet
,
Yuichiro Takeshita
,
Philip R. Thompson
,
Joaquin A. Triñanes
,
Martin Visbeck
,
Denis L. Volkov
,
Rik Wanninkhof
,
Robert A. Weller
,
Toby K. Westberry
,
Matthew J. Widlansky
,
Susan E. Wijffels
,
Anne C. Wilber
,
Lisan Yu
,
Weidong Yu
, and
Huai-Min Zhang
Free access