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This report describes extensive investigations of the near bottom layer of the Western Baltic (Mecklenburg Bight, Darss Sill and Arkona Basin) which were conducted over a five year period to determine the typical structure, vertical thickness, vertical turbulence structure, and spatial and temporal variability of this water mass with regard to the area's particular hydrographic conditions. Series of vertical profiles were obtained using the microstructure profiler MSS86, which is capable of measuring high resolution profiles of temperatures, conductivity, current shear, light attenuation and pressure down the seafloor. The near bottom current structure was simultaneously measured with conventional current metres at fixed depths. A typical vertical density structure of the near bottom layer was found. At all investigation sites, the Bottom Boundary Layer was separated from the outlying water mass by a well pronounced thermohaline pycnocline. A homogeneous water layer was situated above the bottom with a mean thickness of 2.2 m and typical variation between 0.5 and 3.5 m. The thickness of both the homogeneous layer and of the near bottom layer vary considerably. It is suggested that horizontal advection is responsible for these fluctuations in thickness. The variation in thickness of the Homogeneous Layer is independent of the local mean current velocity, wind speed and energy dissipation rate. Over periods of about 2 days the thickness of the Homogeneous Layer is determined by the average wind speed. The Bottom Boundary Layer shows its own characteristic dynamic, which is largely decoupled from that of the remaining water body. A logarithmic layer was generally not resolved by the current measurements. From dissipation rate measurements, the wall layer was determined to be 0.9 m thick. There was no significant correlation between the dissipation rate and the local mean current.

Additional information

Authors: STIPS A, Space Applications Institute, Ispra (IT);PRANDKE H, ME Meerestechnik-Electronik GmbH, Trappenkamp (DE);NEUMANN T, Institute for Baltic Research, Warnemuende (DE)
Bibliographic Reference: Article: Progress in Oceanography, Vol. 41 (1998) pp. 383-453
Availability: Progress in Oceanography (Journal)
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