The Role of Salinity in Equatorial Mixed Layers
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA
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The purpose of this study was to understand the role of surface salinity flux in changing heat exchange between the ocean and the atmosphere by means of its effect on mixed layer dynamics. This was accomplished by a series of thirty-day mixed layer experiments using the one-dimensional Naval Postgraduate School NPS mixed layer model. Results from the NPS mixed layer model, forced with both idealized and in situ data from the western equatorial Pacific Ocean, demonstrated that salinity can play a significant role in potentially changing the surface heat flux, with its effect on the mixed layer depth and mixed layer temperature. Precipitation stabilized the mixed layer by creating a barrier layer, which slowed entrainment. The net accumulation of rain was found to be an important source of buoyancy that reduces entrainment by subsequent wind mixing events.
- Physical and Dynamic Oceanography