Ocean Mixing: Drivers, Mechanisms and Impacts - Chapter 2: The role of ocean mixing in the climate system

Elsevier, Ocean Mixing: Drivers, Mechanisms and Impacts, 2021, pp 5-24
Melet A.V., Hallberg R., Marshall D.P.

Many different physical processes contribute to mixing in the ocean. Mixing plays a significant role in shaping the mean state of the ocean and its response to a changing climate. This chapter provides a review of some recent work on the processes driving mixing in the ocean, on techniques for parameterizing the various mixing processes in climate models, and on the role of ocean mixing in the climate system. For the latter, this chapter illustrates how ocean mixing shapes the contemporary mean climate state by focusing on key ocean features influencing the climate (such as the meridional overturning circulation and heat transport, ocean heat and carbon uptake, ocean ventilation, and overflows from marginal seas), how ocean mixing participates in shaping the transient climate change (including anthropogenic ocean heat and carbon uptake, sea level rise and changes in nutrient fluxes that impact marine ecosystems), how ocean mixing is projected to change under future climate change, and how tides and related mixing differed for paleoclimates. Improving our collective understanding of the dynamics of mixing processes and their interactions with the large-scale state of the ocean will lead to greater confidence in projections of how the climate system will evolve under climate change and to a better understanding of the feedbacks that will act to regulate this evolution.