Three-dimensional distribution of turbulent mixing in the South China Sea
Title: Three-dimensional distribution of turbulent mixing in the South China Sea
Journal: Journal of Physical Oceanography, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-14-0220.1
Authors: YANG Q.-X., W. Zhao, X. Liang, and J.-W. Tian*
Abstract:A three-dimensional distribution of turbulent mixing in the South China Sea (SCS) is obtained for the first time, using the Gregg-Henyey-Polzin parameterization and hydrographic observations from 2005 to 2012. Results indicate that turbulent mixing generally increases with depth in the SCS, reaching the order of 10−2 m2 s−1 at depth. In the horizontal direction, turbulence is more active in the northern SCS than in the south and is more active in the east than the west. Two mixing “hotspots” are identified in the bottom water of the Luzon Strait and Zhongsha Island Chain area, where diapycnal diffusivity values are around 3 × 10−2 m2 s−1. Potential mechanisms responsible for these spatial patterns are discussed, which include internal tide, bottom bathymetry, and near-inertial energy.