|Impressions of the turbulence variability in a weakly stratified, flat-bottom deep-sea ‘boundary layer’|In: Dynamics of atmospheres and oceans. Elsevier: Amsterdam; New York; Oxford; Tokyo. ISSN 0377-0265; e-ISSN 1872-6879, meer
High-resolution temperature observations; Turbulence in weakly stratified sea; Internal wave shear; Internal-wave-induced slantwise; Convection
The character of turbulent overturns in a weakly stratified deep-sea is investigated in some detail using 144 high-resolution temperature sensors at 0.7 m intervals, starting 5 m above the bottom. A 9-day, 1 Hz sampled record from the 912 m depth flat-bottom (<0.5% bottom-slope) mooring site in the central-north Alboran Sea (W-Mediterranean) demonstrates an overall conservative temperature range of only 0.05 °C, a typical mean buoyancy period as large as 3 h and a 1 Hz-profile-vertically-averaged turbulence dissipation rate maximum of only 10-8 m2 s-3. Nonetheless, this ‘boundary layer’ varies in height between <6 and >104 m above the bottom and is thus not homogeneous throughout; the temperature variations are seldom quiescent and are generally turbulent in appearance, well exceeding noise levels. The turbulence character is associated with small-scale internal waves; examples are found of both shear- and convection-driven turbulence; particular association, although not phase-locked, is found between turbulence variations and tidal rather than with inertial motions; the mean buoyancy frequency of a few times the inertial frequency implies the importance of ‘slantwise convection’ in the direction of the earth rotational vector rather than in the direction of gravity. Such convection is observed both in near-homogeneous and weakly stratified form.