Verification of a model for estimating maximum depth of convective mixing
Davis, Charles L.
Jung, Glenn H.
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A method of estimating the depth of homogeneous mixing in the upper layer of a two-layer ocean is discussed. The method applied during the period of general heat loss from the ocean surface and is based on convective processes occurring within the homogeneous layer. The model used is one developed by N. P. Bulgakov; density and salinity distribution depth are plotted from the surface through the halocline. The density scale is oriented such that the maximum density for any given salinity is read directly. One can represent the maximum density obtainable (for a given salinity at freezing temperatures) by the salinity plot. By also plotting the initial density distribution with depth, and the average salinity attained in a homogeneous ;layer mixed to the plotted depth, one can determine the maximum depth of convective mixing from the intersection of these curves. The model was tested using data taken during the winter months over a five year period at Ocean Weather Station "P" located in the northeastern Pacific Ocean. The conclusions reached showed that the model has two important features: first, it clearly demonstrates the important factors causing convective processes to occur; and second, it can be useful in separation of effects of the convective process from those of other mixing or non-mixing processes in the upper ocean layer.
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