Modelling results shed light on energy transfer processes at the submesoscale

A recently published paper by Megan Stamper, the SMILES modelling PhD, has demonstrated how sharp, submesoscale fronts develop in the upper ocean. The high resolution numerical simulations show how the fronts are associated with strong vertical velocities of up 30 mm s-1 and are influential in cascading energy to smaller scales where dissipation by three-dimensional turbulence can account for about a third of the initial kinetic energy.

Stamper, M. and J. R. Taylor, 2017. The transition from symmetric to baroclinic instability in the Eady model. Ocean Dynamics, 67(1), 65-80..

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Figure 1. A snapshot of the vertical velocity, w′, at 5-m depth in the Ri0 = 0.25 simulation at 136 hours (Figure 15a in Stamper et al., 2017).