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Ocean Science An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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doi:10.5194/os-2016-80
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
11 Nov 2016
Review status
A revision of this discussion paper is under review for the journal Ocean Science (OS).
Spatial distribution of turbulent mixing in the upper ocean of the South China Sea
Xiao-Dong Shang1, Chang-Rong Liang1,2, and Gui-Ying Chen1 1State Key Laboratory of Tropical Oceanography, South China Sea Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510301, China
2University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
Abstract. The spatial distribution of the dissipation rate ε and diapycnal diffusivity κ in the upper ocean of the South China Sea (SCS) is presented from a measurement program conducted from April 26 to May 23 2010. In the vertical distribution, the dissipation rates were predominantly high in the thermocline where the shear and stratification were strong. In the regional distribution, high dissipation rate ε and diapycnal diffusivity κ were observed in west of the Luzon Strait with an averaged ε and κ of 8.3×10−9 W kg−1 and 2.7×10−5 m2 s−1, respectively, almost one order of magnitude higher than those in the central and southern SCS. In the west of the Luzon Strait, the water column was characterized by strong shear and weak stratification. Elevated dissipation rates (ε >10−7 W kg−1) and diapycnal diffusivity (κ >10−4 m2 s−1) induced by shear instability occurred in the water column. In the central and southern SCS, the water column was characterized by strong stratification and weak shear and the turbulent mixing was weak. The observed dissipation rates were found to scale positively with the shear and stratification, which was consistent with the MacKinnon-Gregg model used for the continental shelf, but different from the Gregg-Henyey scaling used for the open ocean.

Citation: Shang, X.-D., Liang, C.-R., and Chen, G.-Y.: Spatial distribution of turbulent mixing in the upper ocean of the South China Sea, Ocean Sci. Discuss., doi:10.5194/os-2016-80, in review, 2016.
Xiao-Dong Shang et al.
Xiao-Dong Shang et al.
Xiao-Dong Shang et al.

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