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Decadal variability of eddy temperature fluxes in the Labrador Sea
  • Christopher Danek,
  • Patrick Scholz,
  • Gerrit Lohmann
Christopher Danek

Corresponding Author:cdanek@awi.de

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Patrick Scholz
Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research
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Gerrit Lohmann
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Oceanic mesoscale eddies play an important role in preconditioning and restratifying the water column before and after mixing events, thereby affecting deep water formation variability. In the Labrador Sea, where deep convection occurs regularly, observations and models indicate a complex interplay of turbulence and associated tracer fluxes. Results from a realistic eddy-resolving (~5 km local horizontal resolution) ocean model in quasi-equilibrium (~300 years integration) suggest that small-scale temperature fluxes due to turbulent potential to kinetic energy conversion are the main driver of mixed layer restratification during deep convection triggered through atmospheric forcing. In addition to these baroclinic instabilities, buoyant water masses must be provided by the boundary current, where barotropic turbulence is equally important. Only acting together, the destabilizing forcing can be balanced. In a low-resolution control simulation (~20 km) the modeled turbulence is strongly reduced and the associated modeled and parameterized heat fluxes too weak to increase stratification.