Parameterization of Mixed Layer Eddies. Part II: Prognosis and Impact

(Fox-Kemper, Baylor and Ferrari, Raffaele), Journal of Physical Oceanography, vol. 38, no. October, pp. pages, 2008.


Abstract The authors propose a parameterization for restratification by mixed layer eddies that develop from baroclinic instabilities of ocean fronts. The parameterization is cast as an overturning streamfunction that is proportional to the product of horizontal buoyancy gradient, mixed layer depth, and inertial period. The parameterization has remarkable skill for an extremely wide range of mixed layer depths, rotation rates, and vertical and horizontal stratifications. In this paper a coarse resolution prognostic model of the parameterization is compared with submesoscale mixed layer eddy resolving simulations. The parameterization proves accurate in predicting changes to the buoyancy. The climate implications of the proposed parameterization are estimated by applying the restratification scaling to observations: the mixed layer depth is estimated from climatology, and the buoyancy gradients are from satellite altimetry. The vertical fluxes are comparable to monthly mean air–sea fluxes in large areas of…

doi = 10.1175/2007JPO3788.1

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