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April 20, 2020 C. de Lavergne, C. Vic, G. Madec, F. Roquet, A. F. Waterhouse, C. B. Whalen, Y. Cuypers, P. Bouruet-Aubertot, B. Ferron, T. Hibiya

Published under the WorkPackage 3

Vertical mixing is often regarded as the Achilles' heel of ocean models. In particular, few models include a comprehensive and energy‐constrained parameterization of mixing by internal ocean tides. Here, we present an energy‐conserving mixing scheme which accounts for the local breaking of high‐mode internal tides and the distant dissipation of low‐mode internal tides. The scheme relies on four static two‐dimensional maps of internal tide dissipation, constructed using mode‐by‐mode Lagrangian tracking of energy beams from sources to sinks. Each map is associated with a distinct dissipative process and a corresponding vertical structure. Applied to an observational climatology of stratification, the scheme produces a global three‐dimensional map of dissipation which compares well with available microstructure observations and with upper‐ocean finestructure mixing estimates. This relative agreement, both in magnitude and spatial structure across ocean basins, suggests that internal tides underpin most of observed dissipation in the ocean interior at the global scale. The proposed parameterization is therefore expected to improve understanding, mapping, and modeling of ocean mixing.

Publication DOI: 10.1029/2020MS002065

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