The ecology of Langmuir circulation: A review

S F Barstow

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    45 Citations (Scopus)


    A review is presented of various phenomena brought about by the physical dynamics of Langmuir Circulation in the upper mixed layer of lakes and in the ocean. This helical circulation, thought to be generated by an interaction between the wind drift and the wave field, is not only of interest to physical oceanographers but is also important to marine biologists, chemists and geologists. Environmental consequences of Langmuir Circulation are also highlighted. Windrows, which are often observed on the water surface, show up the convergence zone of the circulation which acts as a concentrating mechanism not only of organisms but also of potentially hazardous pollutants. The ecological effects of this phenomenon are considered. However, Langmuir Circulations also help in the dispersal of pollutants. Oil spills, for example, are given a streaky structure by Langmuir Circulation which aids its eventual natural dispersal. The presence of these circulations is by no means widely recognised and it is hoped that this review will familiarise researchers with this convective phenomenon and highlight its importance. © 1983.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)211-236
    Number of pages26
    JournalMarine Environmental Research
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1983


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