3 years ago

Observations of Tidal Straining Within Two Different Ocean Environments in the East China Sea: Stratification and Near-Bottom Turbulence

Liang Zhao, Hao Wei, Wei Yang
Tidal straining describes the straining effect induced by the vertical shear of oscillatory tidal currents that act on horizontal density gradients. It tends to create tidal periodic stratification and modulate the turbulence in the bottom boundary layer (BBL). Here, we present observations of current, hydrology and turbulence obtained at two mooring stations that are characterized by two typical hydrological environments in the East China Sea (ECS). One is located adjacent to the Changjiang River's mouth, and the other is located over a sloping shelf which is far from the freshwater sources. Tidal straining induces a semidiurnal switching between stable and unstable stratification at both stations. Near-bottom high-frequency velocity measurements further reveal that the dissipation rate of turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) is highly elevated during periods when unstable stratification occurs. A comparison between the TKE dissipation rate (ε) and the shear production (P) further reveals that the near-bottom mixing is locally shear-induced most of the time except during the unstable stratification period. Within this period, the magnitude of dissipation exceeds the expected value based on the law of the wall by an order of magnitude. The buoyancy flux that calculated by the balance method is too small to compensate for the existing discrepancy between the dissipation and shear production. Another plausible candidate is the advection of TKE, which may play an important role in the TKE budget during the unstable stratification period.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1002/2017JC012924

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