Across much of the ocean's surface wind actively mixes a thin layer of water. This mixing results in constituents like temperature and salinity being evenly distributed within this layer. The factors that contribute to the characteristics of that mixed layer (e.g. wind and solar irradiance) vary in location and time, especially over seasons, leading to variations in space and time in the depth of that well mixed layer. This data lab will allow students to examine real data from two locations in the ocean to study these interacting processes, and how they influence the depth and characteristics of the mixed layer.
Select the question your instructor has assigned:
How does solar radiation and wind speed relate to temperature variations and stratification in the surface ocean?
What is a mixed layer and how is it influenced by irradiance and wind speed?
Develop a simple conceptual model for how wind and solar heating control surface mixing in the ocean, and apply them at a different location.
How do mixed layer dynamics interact with primary production in the surface ocean?
If you are a professor or teacher interested in additional information on how to integrate these Data Explorations in your courses, check out the Instructor's Guide and Learning Cycle Sequence for more guidance.
Activity Citation: Eveleth, R., Lemkau, K., Miller, I., Smith, S., & Lichtenwalner, C. S. (2020). Seasonal Variability In The Mixed Layer. OOI Data Labs Collection.