Dissipative Physico-Chemical Transport in the Pycnocline Region of the Ocean

  • John Gribik
  • Fletcher Osterle
Part of the Marine Science book series (MR, volume 7)


This paper presents an analysis of the vertical structure of the ocean and the dissipative processes occurring in it. The analysis is based on thermodynamic principles used in conjunction with a suitable physico-chemical model of sea water. The limitations of this model are thoroughly discussed and particular attention is given to the manner in which the chemical potentials of the sea water constituents must be modified when they are applied to systems of geophysical scale.

The resulting theory is applied to a three-layer model of the nonequilibrium ocean. The model consists of a shallow surface layer which is separated from the underlying deep water by the pycnocline region. The pycnocline acts as an effective barrier to gross vertical mixing and coupled heat and mass diffusion processes operate to modify the solute concentrations. The resulting concentration gradients are compared with those for the limiting case of an equilibrium ocean and the total dissipation is estimated.


Partial Molar Volume Solution Pressure Equilibrium Criterion Total Dissipation Shallow Surface Layer 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Gribik
    • 1
  • Fletcher Osterle
    • 1
  1. 1.Basic Technology, Inc.Carnegie-Mellon UniversityUSA

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