Articles | Volume 8, issue 6
Ocean Sci., 8, 945–957, 2012
Ocean Sci., 8, 945–957, 2012

Research article 07 Nov 2012

Research article | 07 Nov 2012

Microstructure observations during the spring 2011 STRATIPHYT-II cruise in the northeast Atlantic

E. Jurado1,*, H. A. Dijkstra1, and H. J. van der Woerd2 E. Jurado et al.
  • 1Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research Utrecht (IMAU), Dept. of Physics and Astronomy, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • 2Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • *now at: Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research (IDAEA-CSIC), Jordi Girona 18–26, Barcelona 08034, Spain

Abstract. Small-scale temperature and conductivity variations have been measured in the upper 100 m of the northeast Atlantic during the STRATIPHYT-II cruise (Las Palmas–Reykjavik, 6 April–3 May 2011). The measurements were done at midday and comprised 2 to 15 vertical profiles at each station. The derived turbulent quantities show a transition between weakly-stratified (mixed layer depth, MLD, <100) and well-mixed waters (MLD > 100), which was centered at about 48° N. The temperature eddy diffusivities, KT, range from 10−5 to 100 m2 s−1 in the weakly-stratified stations, and range from 3 × 10−4 to 2 × 100 m2 s−1 in the well-mixed stations. The turbulent kinetic energy dissipation rates, ε, range from 3 × 10−8 to 2 × 10−6 m2 s−3 south of the transition zone, and from 10−7 to 10−5 m2 s−3 north of the transition zone. The station-averaged KT values throughout the mixed layer increase exponentially with the wind speed. The station-averaged ε values throughout the mixed layer scale with the wind stress similarity variable with a scaling factor of about 1.8 in the wind-dominated stations (ε ≈ 1.8 u3/(−κz)). The values of KT and ε are on average 10 times higher compared to the values measured at the same stations in July 2009. The results presented here constitute a unique data set giving large spatial coverage of upper ocean spring turbulence quantities.