Ocean mixing studied near Hawaiian Ridge



The Hawaii Ocean Mixing Experiment (HOME) is a grassroots program to study turbulent mixing processes near the Hawaiian Ridge. The HOME is motivated by the desire to understand diffusive aspects of the advective-diffusive balance that mediates the general circulation of the oceans. HOME is focused on tidally driven mixing, given the ubiquity of the tide as a deep-sea energy source.

As the sea surface cools at high latitude, surface waters sink. Subsidence rate is sufficient to fill the worlds ocean with cold bottom water in approximately 3,000 years. Diffusive processes that transfer heat into the abyssal ocean are required to maintain a steady-state thermal structure. An effective eddy diffusivity of order Kp=10−4 m2 s−1, 700 times the molecular diffusivity of heat, is necessary [Munk, 1966]. Such a diffusivity might be supported by either mechanical mixing (turbulent transport) or thermodynamic (so-called doubly diffusive) processes.