Articles | Volume 11, issue 4
Research article
27 Jul 2015
Research article |  | 27 Jul 2015

Exploring the isopycnal mixing and helium–heat paradoxes in a suite of Earth system models

A. Gnanadesikan, M.-A. Pradal, and R. Abernathey

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Cited articles

Abernathey, R. and Marshall, J.: Global surface eddy diffusivities derived from satellite altimetry, J. Geophys. Res.-Oceans, 118, 901–916, 2013.
Abernathey, R., Marshall, J., Shuckburgh, E., and Mazloff, M.: Enhancement of mesoscale eddy stirring at steering levels in the Southern Ocean, J. Phys. Oceanogr., 40, 170–185, 2010.
Abernathey, R., Ferreira, D., and Klocker, A.: Diagnostics of isopycnal mixing in a circumpolar channel, Ocean Model., 72, 1–16, 2013.
Anderson, D.: The helium paradoxes, P. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 95, 4822–4827, 1998.
Bachman, S., Fox-Kemper, B., and Bryan, F. C.: A tracer-based inversion method for diagnosing eddy-induced diffusivity and advection. Ocean Model., 86, 1–14,, 2015.
Short summary
Many ocean circulation models use representations of lateral mixing based on instability theories that predict weak mixing in the ocean interior, much lower than observed. We show that using more realistic mixing improves the distribution of mantle helium-3. It does not, however, resolve the paradox that models reproduce the relationship between mantle helium and radiocarbon with a flux of helium-3 lower than is consistent with the heat leaving the mantle.