Eddy stirring and horizontal diffusivity from Argo float observations: Geographic and depth variability Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Stirring along isopycnals is a significant factor in determining the distribution of tracers within the ocean. Salinity anomalies on density surfaces from Argo float profiles are used to investigate horizontal stirring and estimate eddy mixing lengths. Eddy mixing length and velocity fluctuations from the ECCO2 global state estimate are used to estimate horizontal diffusivity at a 300?km scale in the upper 2000?m with near-global coverage. Diffusivity varies by over two orders of magnitude with latitude, longitude, and depth. In all basins, diffusivity is elevated in zonal bands corresponding to strong current regions, including western boundary current extension regions, the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, and equatorial current systems. The estimated mixing lengths and diffusivities provide an observationally based data set that can be used to test and constrain predictions and parameterizations of eddy stirring.

publication date

  • May 28, 2015