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Keywords:

  • turbulent dissipation;
  • frontogenesis;
  • submesoscale

[1] Enhanced turbulent dissipation, O(10−8–10−7) Wkg−1 in the thermocline on the cyclonic side of the Kuroshio Front was observed during a period of frontogenesis, using a microstructure profiler, XBT and ADCP along 143°E across the Kuroshio Front in August 2008. The eddy diffusivity corresponding to the mixing below the central jet is estimated to be O(10−4–10−3) m2 s−1. The strong turbulent mixing we observed in the Kuroshio is in sharp contrast to previous field measurements which found that small scale diapycnal mixing in western boundary currents remains at levels typically measured in the open ocean thermocline. The turbulence in the Kuroshio is attributed to frontogenesis arising out of an estimated confluence rate of O(10−5) s−1 based on satellite altimeters, suggesting the ubiquity of a forward energy cascade from mesoscale to microscale turbulence near ocean fronts as indicated by recent theoretical studies.