Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Oceanography



First Advisor

Richard B. Lambert, Jr.


An examination of the equations for the conservation of salt and potential temperature provides a functional relationship between the cross-correlation of the gradients of temperature and salinity fluctuations and the ratio of the variances of the gradients of the fluctuations. Different values of the correlation correspond to different dynamical processes. When the fluctuating quantities are well correlated, it is predicted that the slope of the regression line of the temperature fluctuations on the salinity fluctuations is the appropriate scaling parameter for the relationship.

The functional relation is combined with a linear equation of state to show that the slopes of the T-S correlation curves for the Central Water are determined by the constraint that the details of the distribution of the density variance be independent of any specific mixing mechanism.

A similarity hypothesis is made which implies that when the relationship is cast in finite difference form, it should hold for all values of the separation interval used to approximate the gradients. In order to test this hypothesis, STD and CTD data from the North Atlantic and Caribbean Sea have been analyzed by smoothing the vertical profiles of temperature and salinity and using the differences between the original and the smoothed profiles to represent the fluctuations.

The calculations support the hypothesis for the North Atlantic Central Water. The data for the other water masses are inconclusive.



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