Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans

Observed volume fluxes and mixing in the Dardanelles Strait

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Abstract

[1] Pairs of moorings equipped with current profilers were deployed at each end of the Dardanelles Strait and remained in place for over 13 months. Current observations were able to resolve well the exchange flow and volume fluxes. Volume fluxes showed distinct temporal variability in upper and lower layers, especially evident on synoptic time scales. The synoptic flux variability in the upper layer was coherent with the local atmospheric forcing and the bottom pressure anomaly gradient, while the flux variations in the lower layer were related to the bottom pressure anomaly gradient. Estimated volume flux values were often two or more times larger than their respective annual means. Annual upper-layer flux means were 25.66 × 10−3 and 36.68 × 10−3 Sv, whereas the lower-layer averages were 14.02 × 10−3 and 31.67 × 10−3 Sv for the Marmara and Aegean sections, respectively. The fluxes also showed that there was a net low-salinity water outflow to the Aegean Sea, and that they varied weakly on longer time scales (monthly to seasonal). High-salinity water fluxes (≥ 39 psu) were used to calculate strait-averaged vertical eddy diffusivities which ranged between 10−4 and 10−2 m2 s−1. Additionally, microstructure observations were used to evaluate vertical eddy diffusivities. These estimates indicated that mixing in the strait varied spatially and temporarily, and it was dependent on complex strait geometry, exchange flow status, and partially on meteorological conditions. Large values of eddy diffusivities, with a depth-averaged mean of 1.3 × 10−2 m2 s−1, and vigorous mixing were found in the Nara Pass, the narrowest section in the Dardanelles Strait.