• Open Access

Turbulence and high-frequency variability in a deep gravity current outflow

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Abstract

[1] Intensive sampling of the deep Mediterranean outflow 70 km W of the Strait of Gibraltar reveals a strong, tidally modulated gravity current embedded with large-amplitude oscillations and energetic turbulence. The flow appears to be hydraulically controlled at a small topographic constriction, with turbulence and internal waves varying together and increasing dramatically downstream of the choke point. These data suggest that a significant fraction of energy dissipation, mixing, and entrainment stress in gravity currents may occur in localized regions controlled by time-varying flow interactions with fine-scale topography. These findings highlight the important role of processes that are not resolved by global climate models (GCMs), which do not contain tides or mixing due to fine-scale topographic interactions.

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