Observations of turbulence under weakly and highly stratified conditions in the Ariake Sea

Eisuke Tsutsumi, Takeshi Matsuno

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Observations of turbulence, stratification, and mean current were made using a microstructure profiler and an acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP) during four cruises at a central location in the Ariake Sea, under weakly and strongly stratified conditions. Continuous measurements of the dissipation rate of turbulent kinetic energy (TKE), ε, were made. These revealed that frictional bed turbulence with quarterdiurnal variation in the bottom boundary layer (BBL) was one of the most energetic sources of vertical mixing in the sea. Thickness of the BBL was strongly confined by the stable stratification. We investigate a relationship between the BBL height h and the Ozmidov scale. We present a systematic argument that describes the vertical structure and characteristic scales of velocity and turbulence inside the frictional BBL, where the stratification persisted. Considerable deviation of observed vertical shear from the law of the wall indicated a modification of turbulent scales by the stratification. Shear stress calculated from the velocity data using vertical integration of the equation of motion was found to decrease approximately linearly with height. The TKE production rate P, estimated using the shear stress, was highly correlated with the dissipation rate. The buoyancy contribution to TKE balance in the BBL was quantified in terms of the flux Richardson number R f as R f = 0.12.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-386
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Oceanography
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography


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