Large eddy simulation of interactions between free convection, wind driven currents, and baroclinicity in Labrador Sea deep mixed layers
Kruse, Denise M.
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Understanding the dynamics of deep convection leading to the formation of deep water is important not only for studying the small-scale generation regions, but also for studying the large-scale thermohaline circulation Large Eddy Simulation (LES) is used to model deep convection with an imposed mean horizontal density gradient of two different strengths and wind forcing from various directions, with strong surface cooling representative of the Labrador Sea. Results from these different cases are compared and analyzed to understand the effects of horizontal density gradients and wind direction on turbulence statistics for deep convection. Both the strength of horizontal density gradients and wind direction relative to the gradient affect mixed layer scalar variances, turbulent vertical fluxes, Vertical Turbulent Kinetic Energy (VTKE), and stability during deep convection. Wind direction dominates over gradient strength in determining vertical flux magnitude with larger variation in strong gradient cases. Levels of VTKE are more dependent on gradient strength, with weaker gradients producing higher values of VTKF than stronger gradients regardless of wind direction. Wind direction does alter VTKE levels in the same manner as it alters vertical flux levels. The presence of a horizontal gradient is a stabilizing factor in areas of strong surface cooling
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