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Latin american journal of aquatic research

On-line version ISSN 0718-560X


PEREZ-SANTOS, Iván et al. Double diffusion from microstructure measurements in the Martínez and Baker channels, central Chilean Patagonia (47.85°S). Lat. Am. J. Aquat. Res. [online]. 2013, vol.41, n.1, pp.177-182. ISSN 0718-560X.

Double-diffusive convection (DDC) has been detected in the Martinez and Baker channels of central Patagonia (Chile) by employing a Self Contained Autonomous Micro-Profiler (SCAMP). This profiler measures temperature and salinity in the water column with a vertical resolution on the millimetre scale. The expedition took place in December 2011 and included 19 vertical high-resolution profiles from surface to ~55 m depth. The formation of thermohaline staircase patterns, resulting from the DDC process, could be documented by the micro-profiler's measurements. DDC events, below the shallow but strongly stratified surface layer (7-10 m), were confirmed to occur in intermediate depths between 15 and 45 m by means of the Turner angle. Most of these events were usually weak but several strong ones could also be detected between 15 and 40 m. DDC is initiated at the interface between sub-surface waters of estuarine origin (cold and less salty) and intermediate waters of oceanic origin (warmer and saltier), with upward heat and salt fluxes. DDC together with mixing caused by winds, tides, and internal waves, constitute an important mechanism for mixing the water column with implications for small organisms therein.

Keywords : double diffusion; mixing; thermohaline staircase; austral channels; Chilean Patagonia.

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