AbstractLarge eddy simulations (LES) with various constant wind, wave and surface destabilizing surface buoyancy flux forcing are conducted, with a focus on assessing the impact of Langmuir turbulence on the entrainment buoyancy flux at the base of the ocean surface boundary layer. An estimate of the entrainment buoyancy flux scaling is made to best fit the LES results. The presence of Stokes drift forcing and the resulting Langmuir turbulence enhances the entrainment rate significantly under weak surface destabilizing buoyancy flux conditions, i.e., weakly convective turbulence. In contrast, Langmuir turbulence effects are moderate when convective turbulence is dominant and appear to be additive rather than multiplicative to the convection-induced mixing. The parameterized unresolved velocity scale in the K-Profile Parameterization (KPP) is modified to adhere to the new scaling law of the entrainment buoyancy flux and account for the effects of Langmuir turbulence. This modification is targeted on common situations in a climate model where either Langmuir turbulence or convection is important, and may overestimate the entrainment when both are weak. Nevertheless, the modified KPP is tested in a global climate model, and generally outperforms those tested in previous studies. Improvements in the simulated mixed layer depth are found, especially in the Southern Ocean in austral summer.
Journal of Physical Oceanography – American Meteorological Society
Published: Oct 4, 2017
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