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Observations of turbulent kinetic energy dissipation rate (urn:x-wiley:21699275:media:jgrc24670:jgrc24670-math-0001) from a range of historical shelf seas data sets are viewed from the perspective of their forcing and dissipation mechanisms: barotropic to baroclinic tidal energy conversion, and pycnocline and bottom boundary layer (BBL) dissipation. The observations are placed in their geographical context using a high resolution numerical model (NEMO AMM60) in order to compute relevant maps of the forcing (conversion). We analyse, in total, eighteen shear microstructure surveys undertaken over a seventeen year period from 1996 to 2013 on the North West European shelf, consisting of 3717 vertical profiles of shear microstructure: 2013 from free falling profilers and 1704 from underwater gliders. We find a robust positive relationship between model-derived barotropic to baroclinic conversion, and observed pycnocline integrated urn:x-wiley:21699275:media:jgrc24670:jgrc24670-math-0002. A fitted power law relationship of approximately one-third is found. We discuss reasons for this apparent power law and where the “missing” dissipation may be occurring. We conclude that internal wave related dissipation in the bottom boundary layer provides a robust explanation and is consistent with a commonly used fine-scale pycnocline dissipation parameterisation.


  • Turbulence, Internal Waves, Diapycnal mixing
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2020JC016528
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Issue number8
Early online date28 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021

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