Turbulence and high-frequency variability in a deep gravity current outflow

Jonathan D. Nash, Hartmut Peters, Samuel M. Kelly, Josep L. Pelegrí, Mikhail Emelianov, Marc Gasser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Intensive sampling of the deep Mediterranean outflow 70 km W of the Strait of Gibraltar reveals a strong, tidally modulated gravity current embedded with large-amplitude oscillations and energetic turbulence. The flow appears to be hydraulically controlled at a small topographic constriction, with turbulence and internal waves varying together and increasing dramatically downstream of the choke point. These data suggest that a significant fraction of energy dissipation, mixing, and entrainment stress in gravity currents may occur in localized regions controlled by time-varying flow interactions with fine-scale topography. These findings highlight the important role of processes that are not resolved by global climate models (GCMs), which do not contain tides or mixing due to fine-scale topographic interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL18611
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 1 2012


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