The Bottom Boundary Layer

Ann Rev Mar Sci. 2018 Jan 3;10:397-420. doi: 10.1146/annurev-marine-121916-063351.


The oceanic bottom boundary layer extracts energy and momentum from the overlying flow, mediates the fate of near-bottom substances, and generates bedforms that retard the flow and affect benthic processes. The bottom boundary layer is forced by winds, waves, tides, and buoyancy and is influenced by surface waves, internal waves, and stratification by heat, salt, and suspended sediments. This review focuses on the coastal ocean. The main points are that (a) classical turbulence concepts and modern turbulence parameterizations provide accurate representations of the structure and turbulent fluxes under conditions in which the underlying assumptions hold, (b) modern sensors and analyses enable high-quality direct or near-direct measurements of the turbulent fluxes and dissipation rates, and

Keywords: bedforms; exchange; stratification; stress; turbulence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Geologic Sediments / chemistry*
  • Hydrodynamics*
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Oceans and Seas*
  • Particulate Matter / analysis*
  • Seawater / chemistry*
  • Water Movements*
  • Wind


  • Particulate Matter