An Expendable Microstructure Profiler for Deep Ocean Measurements

Xiaodong Shang, Yongfeng Qi, Guiying Chen, Changrong Liang, Rolf G. Lueck, Brett Prairie, Hua Li
2017 Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology  
Measurements of turbulence in the deep ocean, particularly close to the bottom, are extremely sparse because of the difficulty and operational risk of obtaining deep profiles near the seafloor. A newly developed expendable instrument-the VMP-X (Vertical Microstructure Profiler-Expendable)-carries two microstructure shear probes to measure the fluctuations of vertical shear into the dissipation range and can profile down to a depth of 6000 m. Data from nine VMP-X profiles in the western Pacific
more » ... cean near 11.68N over rough topography display bottom-intensified turbulence with dissipation rates increasing by two factors of 10 to 4 3 10 29 W kg 21 within 200 m above the bottom. In contrast, over smooth topography in the southern South China Sea near 118N, three profiles show that turbulence in the bottom boundary layer increases only slightly, with dissipation rates reaching 1 3 10 210 W kg 21 . The eddy diffusivity over rough topography reached to 5 3 10 23 m 2 s 21 . The average diffusivity over all depths was 0.3 3 10 24 and 0.9 3 10 24 m 2 s 21 for the tests in the southern South China Sea and in the western Pacific Ocean, respectively, and these values are much larger than previous estimates of less than '0.1 3 10 24 m 2 s 21 for the main thermocline.
doi:10.1175/jtech-d-16-0083.1 fatcat:r4cred7tt5d2pkybr5h5sj4imu