Internal tides and vertical mixing over the Kerguelen Plateau

Park, Y.-H. and Fuda, J.-L. and Durand, I. and Naveira Garabato, A. C.

abstract: Within the context of the natural iron-fertilization study KEOPS, time series measurements of CTD and LADCP profiles at a site (50.6^\circS, 72^\circE; 528 m) coinciding with an annual phytoplankton bloom over the Kerguelen Plateau were made during the January-February 2005 KEOPS cruise. An important activity of highly nonlinear semidiurnal internal tides having peak-to-peak isopycnal displacements of up to 80 m is identified. These internal tides appear to be a principal agent for promoting elevated vertical mixing indispensable for upward transfer of iron within the seasonal thermocline. We estimate local vertical eddy diffusivities of the order of 4 \times 10^-4 m^2 s^-1 using a Thorpe scale analysis. Although this estimate is higher by an order of magnitude than the canonical value O (0.1 \times 10^-4 m^2 s^-1) in the open ocean away from boundaries, it is consistent with nonlinear internal wave / wave interaction theories, as verified by independent diffusivity estimates using the vertical wavenumber spectral methods for shear and strain. It is also suggested that the general ocean circulation may play an important role in preconditioning the bloom in that the relatively sluggish circulation over the shallow plateau (compared to the much more dynamic neighbouring deep ocean) may foster the bloom’s observed annual recurrence over the plateau.

  author = {Park, Y.-H. and Fuda, J.-L. and Durand, I. and Naveira~Garabato, A. C.},
  title = {Internal tides and vertical mixing over the Kerguelen Plateau},
  journal = {Deep Sea Res. II},
  year = {2008},
  pages = {582--593},
  volume = {55},
  issue = {5?-7},
  doi = {10.1016/j.dsr2.2007.12.027},
  url = {}