Articles | Volume 17, issue 1
Ocean Sci., 17, 203–219, 2021
Ocean Sci., 17, 203–219, 2021

Research article 28 Jan 2021

Research article | 28 Jan 2021

Spiciness theory revisited, with new views on neutral density, orthogonality, and passiveness

Rémi Tailleux

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Isoneutral control of effective diapycnal mixing in numerical ocean models with neutral rotated diffusion tensors
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Depth range: All Depths | Approach: Analytic Theory | Geographical range: All Geographic Regions | Properties and processes: Water mass | Challenges: Oceans and climate
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Preprint under review for OS

Cited articles

Butler, E. D., Oliver, K. I., Gregory, J. M., and Tailleux, R.: The ocean's gravitational potential energy budget in a coupled climate model, Geophys. Res. Lett., 40, 5417–5422,, 2013. a
deSzoeke, R. A. and Springer, S. R.: The materiality and neutrality of neutral density and orthobaric density, J. Phys. Oceanogr., 39, 1779–1799,, 2009. a
Eden, C. and Willebrand, J.: Neutral density revisited, Deep-Sea Res., 46, 34–54,, 1999. a, b
Feistel, R.: Thermodynamic properties of seawater, ice and humid air: TEOS-10, before and beyond, Ocean Sci., 14, 471–502,, 2018. a
Flament, P.: A state variable for characterizing water masses and their diffusive stability: Spiciness, Prog. Oceanogr., 54, 493–501,, 2002. a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j
Short summary
Because the density of seawater depends on both temperature (T) and salinity (S), it is possible for seawater samples of the same density to have widely different T and S characteristics ranging from hot and salt (spicy) to fresh and cold (minty). For several decades, oceanographers have been debating how to best construct a variable for quantifying the spiciness of seawater. This work discusses the relative merits and drawbacks of existing approaches and proposes a new way forward.