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Stationary abyssal circulation forced by enhanced upwelling over a mid-ocean ridge

CA Katsman

Stommel and co-workers calculated the stationary, geostrophic circulation in the abyssal ocean driven by prescribed sources (representing convective downwelling sites) and sinks (slow, widespread upwelling through the thermocline). The applied basin geometries were highly idealized, with nearly uniform upwelling and gradual bottom slopes. In this paper, the classical Stommel-Arons theory for the abyssal circulation is extended by introducing pronounced bathymetry in the form of a mid-ocean ridge and strongly enhanced upwelling in the vicinity of this ridge, modeled after direct observations of diapycnal mixing rates in the deep ocean.
Enhanced upwelling over a mid-ocean ridge drives a cross-equatorial $eta$-plume circulation that is locally modified by topographic stretching. The dynamics of this abyssal circulation pattern are explained by analyzing the impacts of the upwelling pattern and the bathymetry on the stationary circulation separately and in combination. Based on the presented analysis, changes in the circulation that arise from varying the basin geometry and the upwelling pattern are easily explained. Some characteristics of the idealized abyssal circulation can be identified in observations and more realistic model simulations.

Bibliografische gegevens

CA Katsman. Stationary abyssal circulation forced by enhanced upwelling over a mid-ocean ridge
published, J. Phys. Oceanogr., 2006, 36

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