The Multi-Scale Layering-Structure of Thermal Microscale Profiles

Folkard, Andrew (2021) The Multi-Scale Layering-Structure of Thermal Microscale Profiles. Water, 13 (21). ISSN 2073-4441

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Abstract

Thermal microstructure profiling is an established technique for investigating turbulent mixing and stratification in lakes and oceans. However, it provides only quasi-instantaneous, 1-D snapshots. Other approaches to measuring these phenomena exist, but each has logistic and/or quality weaknesses. Hence, turbulent mixing and stratification processes remain greatly undersampled. This paper contributes to addressing this problem by presenting a novel analysis of thermal microstructure profiles, focusing on their multi-scale stratification structure. Profiles taken in two small lakes using a Self-Contained Automated Micro-Profiler (SCAMP) were analysed. For each profile, buoyancy frequency (N), Thorpe scales (LT), and the coefficient of vertical turbulent diffusivity (KZ) were determined. To characterize the multi-scale stratification, profiles of d2T/dz2 at a spectrum of scales were calculated and the number of turning points in them counted. Plotting these counts against the scale gave pseudo-spectra, which were characterized by the index D of their power law regression lines. Scale-dependent correlations of D with N, LT and KZ were found, and suggest that this approach may be useful for providing alternative estimates of the efficiency of turbulent mixing and measures of longer-term averages of KZ than current methods provide. Testing these potential uses will require comparison of field measurements of D with time-integrated KZ values and numerical simulations.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Water
Uncontrolled Keywords:
/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/3300/3305
Subjects:
ID Code:
161777
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
02 Nov 2021 15:22
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
02 Dec 2021 09:08