Observations of energetic turbulence on the Weddell Sea continental slope
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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- Geophysical Institute 
Turbulence profile measurements made on the upper continental slope and shelf of the southeastern Weddell Sea reveal striking contrasts in dissipation and mixing rates between the two sites. The mean profiles of dissipation rates from the upper slope are 1–2 orders of magnitude greater than the profiles collected over the shelf in the entire water column. The difference increases toward the bottom where the dissipation rate of turbulent kinetic energy and the vertical eddy diffusivity on the slope exceed 10−7 W kg−1 and 10−2 m2 s−1, respectively. Elevated levels of turbulence on the slope are concentrated within a 100 m thick bottom layer, which is absent on the shelf. The upper slope is characterized by near-critical slopes and is in close proximity to the critical latitude for semidiurnal internal tides. Our observations suggest that the upper continental slope of the southern Weddell Sea is a generation site of semidiurnal internal tide, which is trapped along the slope along the critical latitude, and dissipates its energy in a inline image m thick layer near the bottom and within inline image km across the slope.