HCNSO Student Theses and Dissertations

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Defense Date


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Ph.D. Oceanography/Marine Biology


Oceanographic Center

First Advisor

William S. Richardson

Second Advisor

Mark Wimbush

Third Advisor

Russell L. Snyder

Fourth Advisor

Pearn P. Niiler


Vertical profiles of current shear, temperature, and salinity were recorded at two locations in the Florida Current. These measurements extend from the bottom of the surface mixed layer to below the thermocline (50 m to 250 m). Values of shear up to 2 X 10-2 sec-1 were observed in the thermocline.

Density and shear profiles (and resulting Richardson Number profiles) are determined to a resolution of about 3 m. Fine structure temperature profiles are presented with resolution of a few centimeters.

In measurements made close to the western edge of the current, Richardson Number profiles reveal a stable water column (for wavelengths down to 3 m) through most of the thermocline. However, the lower region of the thermocline reveals considerable instability resulting from a decrease in density gradient while shear remains relatively intense.

Measurements obtained at the location closer to the current axis reveal more intense horizontal structure throughout the steepest gradient of the thermocline. This appears to be internal wave activity with roughly 60 m wavelength and 10 m to 20 m amplitude. These waves are compared with Kelvin-Helmholtz rolls. While both sets of measurements reveal what appear to be internal waves, the observations taken closer to the stream axis reveal considerably more of this activity.

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