Finescale parameterizations of turbulent dissipation



This article (1) reviews and clarifies the basic physics underpinning finescale parameterizations of turbulent dissipation due to internal wave breaking and (2) provides advice on the implementation of the parameterizations in a way that is most consistent with the underlying physics, with due consideration given to common instrumental issues. Potential biases in the parameterization results are discussed in light of both (1) and (2), and illustrated with examples in the literature. The value of finescale parameterizations for studies of the large-scale ocean circulation in the presence of common biases is assessed. We conclude that the parameterizations can contribute significantly to the resolution of large-scale circulation problems associated with plausible ranges in the rates of turbulent dissipation and diapycnal mixing spanning an order of magnitude or more.