Observational evidence of diapycnal upwelling within a sloping submarine canyon

Small-scale turbulent mixing drives the upwelling of deep water masses in the abyssal ocean as part of the global overturning circulation (Wunsch & Ferrari 2004). However, the processes leading to mixing and the pathways through which this upwelling occurs remain insufficiently understood. Recent observational and theoretical work suggests that deep water upwelling may be focused in bottom boundary layers on the ocean’s sloping seafloor; however, direct evidence of this is lacking (Ledwell et al. 2000, St. Laurent et al. 2001, Ferrari et al. 2016, de Lavergne et al. 2016). Here, we present observations from a near-bottom dye release within a canyon on the North Atlantic continental slope showing upwelling across density surfaces at a rate of 250 +/- 75 m/day over three days, ∼10,000 times higher than the global average value required to account for ∼30 Sv of upwelling globally (Munk 1966). The vigourous upwelling is coupled with adiabatic exchange of near-boundary and interior fluid. These results provide direct evidence of strong, bottom-focused diapycnal upwelling in the deep ocean, supporting previous suggestions that mixing at topographic features, such as canyons, leads to upwelling.

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Wynne-Cattanach Bethan, Alford Matthew, Couto Nicole, Drake Henri, Ferrari Raffaele, Le Boyer Arnaud, Mercier Herle, Messias Marie-Jose, Naveira Garabato Alberto, Polzin Kurt, Ruan Xiaozhou, Spingys Carl, Van haren Hans, Voet Gunnar (2023). Observational evidence of diapycnal upwelling within a sloping submarine canyon. Under Review at Nature Portfolio. INPRESS. https://doi.org/10.21203/rs.3.rs-3459062/v1, https://archimer.ifremer.fr/doc/00858/96983/

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