Estimation of the particle flux from the convective mixed layer by large eddy simulation

Yign Noh, Satoshi Nakada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


With an aim to estimate how much phytoplankton population remains within the mixed layer during winter and acts as seeds for blooming in the following spring, the downward particle flux from the convective mixed layer is investigated by analyzing the motion of a large number of Lagrangian particles in the ocean mixed layer simulated by large eddy simulation. It is found that W/ws decreases gradually from 1 to 0 with wd/ws, where W is the sedimentation rate, defined as the ratio of downward particle flux to the mean particle concentration within the mixed layer; ws is the terminal velocity of a particle settling in still fluid; and wd is the deepening velocity of the mixed layer depth (MLD). It is in contrast with the previous hypothesis that W = ws for wd < ws and W = 0 otherwise. The new parameterization W/ws = exp[-1.4(wd/ws)] leads to much higher particle concentration after winter than the previous estimation, when wd > w s. The present result suggests that the escape of particles from the mixed layer occurs stochastically, and its probability is determined by turbulence at the MLD and by the mixed layer deepening, both of which are represented by wd/ws.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberC05007
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2010
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Oceanography


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