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Free Content The influence of planetary rotation on oceanic double-diffusive fluxes

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Does planetary rotation inhibit double-diffusive fluxes of heat and salt in oceanic thermohaline staircases? The Taylor number Ta, which measures the effect of planetary rotation on convection, is O(1) for laboratory diffusive staircases O(104) for oceanic diffusive staircases. Does this mean that laboratory-based flux laws are inapplicable in the ocean? Lacking flux measurements in double-diffusive systems, these questions are addressed using an analogy between double-diffusive convection and thermal convection. It is shown that Ta is an inappropriate parameter, and that rotating thermal fluxes collapse onto a simple curve when a new Taylor number Tano-slip is used instead of Ta. Fluxes are strongly inhibited for Tano-slip > 103. When extended to double-diffusion, this criterion implies that planetary rotation does not inhibit fluxes in either the laboratory or the ocean. There is no need to add a rotation correction to the laboratory-based flux laws before applying them to the ocean.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 November 1987

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  • The Journal of Marine Research publishes peer-reviewed research articles covering a broad array of topics in physical, biological and chemical oceanography. Articles that deal with processes, as well as those that report significant observations, are welcome. In the area of biology, studies involving coupling between ecological and physical processes are preferred over those that report systematics. Authors benefit from thorough reviews of their manuscripts, where an attempt is made to maximize clarity. The time between submission and publication is kept to a minimum; there is no page charge.
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