Large eddy simulation of the ocean mixed layer: The effects of wave breaking and langmuir circulation

Yign Noh, Hong Sik Min, Siegfried Raasch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

105 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Large eddy simulation (LES) of the ocean mixed layer was performed in which both wave breaking and Langmuir circulation are realized. Wave breaking was represented by random forcing consistent with the observed near-surface turbulence, and Langmuir circulation was realized by the Craig-Leibovich vortex force. High-resolution simulations were carried out using parallel computing with or without each contribution, wave breaking and Langmuir circulation, with an aim to clarify their respective roles in the ocean mixed layer. The effects of wave breaking were found to be mainly limited to the near-surface zone of the upper few meters. Langmuir circulations below it are not significantly modified, although they become somewhat weakened and less coherent. Under the influence of wave breaking, however, the turbulence production in the upper-ocean mixed layer becomes dominated by the turbulent kinetic energy flux, contrary to the case of the atmospheric boundary layer where it is dominated by shear production. The comparison of the results from the LES and the ocean mixed layer model also reveals the significances of wave breaking and Langmuir circulation in the vertical mixing process of the ocean mixed layer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)720-735
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Physical Oceanography
Volume34
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2004
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography

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