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Free Content The role of turbulence in the sedimentation loss of pelagic aggregates from the mixed layer

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A simple approach is presented to model the effect that turbulence has on the sedimentation loss of pelagic particles from the mixed layer. The approach consists in determining how turbulence affects their vertical distribution by splitting the solution of the advection-diffusion equation into two functions, one for the concentration of particles in the mixed layer and the other one reflecting the shape of the profile of particle concentration. The results of the paper indicate that the sedimentation flux is seriously underestimated if a uniform distribution of particles is assumed in the mixed layer when turbulence levels are low. A correction to this underestimation is possible in many situations without resolving the vertical scale in the mixed layer. The cases in which the correction cannot be applied are delimited in the paper in terms of dimensionless numbers. The results also demonstrate the importance of resolving the vertical scale in models of particle dynamics and add further support to the hypothesis of turbulence as the mechanism responsible for daily cycles of aggregates in the sea.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 1996

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  • The Journal of Marine Research, one of the oldest journals in American marine science, 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. Biological studies involving coupling between ecological and physical processes are preferred over those that report systematics. The editors strive always to serve authors and readers in the academic oceanographic community by publishing papers vital to the marine research in the long and rich tradition of the Sears Foundation for Marine Research. We welcome you to the Journal of Marine Research.
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