Comparison of intensified turbulence events in the Baltic Sea

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Institutionen för geovetenskaper

Abstract: Turbulence is important since it affects the exchange of momentum, heat, and trace gases between the atmosphere and the ocean. However, measuring oceanic turbulence is not straightforward and that is why parameterizations that describe turbulence events are important. In this thesis turbulence data from the Baltic Sea is investigated and compared to already existing parameterizations.  The thesis considers turbulence in the ocean surface boundary layer (OSBL) and how atmospheric parameters act as driving mechanisms. Turbulence creates mixing that enables the dispersion of various particles and a more efficient gas transfer at the air-sea interface. This thesis aimed to investigate the connection between the drivers of oceanic turbulence, wind, waves, and buoyancy fluxes and how they contribute to the formation of enhanced turbulence events. To investigate this, turbulence data from the Baltic Sea from June to August 2020, collected by an ADCP (Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler), was used to find connections to meteorological data during the same time period. Since turbulence is difficult to measure, three already existing parameterizations were compared to the observed turbulence to investigate their performance. The results showed that conditions with higher wind speeds with corresponding waves gave a better correlation between surface turbulence and wind and waves. The parameterization that included wind and waves gave results closest to the observed turbulence at the surfaces, compared to when only wind shear was included. It was also detected that the parameterized turbulence was in almost all cases under-predicted in comparison to the observed turbulence. To clarify why this is the case, a more detailed analysis would be needed to find what parameters are missing for better predictions of the surface turbulence.

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