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salt fingering


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A suggested mixing process between layers of saline and less saline ocean water. The vertical water movements between the water masses of different salinity occur in small columns (‘fingers’) a few millimetres across that penetrate only a small distance, producing a mixed layer. The mixing process may then be repeated at the two interfaces that are present, and a number of layers may develop. It is thought to occur where warm, saline water overlies cooler, less saline water (e.g. where the saline Mediterranean water flows out into the less saline Atlantic).

Subjects: Earth Sciences and Geography — Ecology and Conservation.


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