Patchiness of Small-Scale Temperature Fluctuations in the Seasonal Thermocline: Results Using a Preliminary Patch Processor Algorithm.
NAVAL RESEARCH LAB WASHINGTON DC
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An algorithm is documented which is useful for visualizing patches of fine-scale activity in the upper ocean. It also gives estimates of elementary patch statistics. The algorithm is applied to a approx 55 km by approx 30 m section of temperature data obtained with a towed array of thermistors in the seasonal thermocline in the Sargasso Sea in late summer. Activity on horizontal wavelengths of 1 to 10 meters is shown to be intermittent, with the size of energetic patches being tens of meters to order one kilometer long and 0.5 to 10 meters high. The length-to-height ratio, on the average, is greater than 100, approaching the ratio of the buoyancy to the inertial frequency. Also, the rms amplitude of the fluctuations in the patches is, on the average, independent of patch size.
- Physical and Dynamic Oceanography