Global Calculation of Tidal Energy Conversion into Vertical Normal Modes

Saeed Falahat Department of Meteorology, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden

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Jonas Nycander Department of Meteorology, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden

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Fabien Roquet Department of Meteorology, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden

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Moundheur Zarroug Department of Meteorology, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden

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Abstract

A direct calculation of the tidal generation of internal waves over the global ocean is presented. The calculation is based on a semianalytical model, assuming that the internal tide characteristic slope exceeds the bathymetric slope (subcritical slope) and the bathymetric height is small relative to the vertical scale of the wave, as well as that the horizontal tidal excursion is smaller than the horizontal topographic scale. The calculation is performed for the M2 tidal constituent. In contrast to previous similar computations, the internal tide is projected onto vertical eigenmodes, which gives two advantages. First, the vertical density profile and the finite ocean depth are taken into account in a fully consistent way, in contrast to earlier work based on the WKB approximation. Nevertheless, the WKB-based total global conversion follows closely that obtained using the eigenmode decomposition in each of the latitudinal and vertical distributions. Second, the information about the distribution of the conversion energy over different vertical modes is valuable, since the lowest modes can propagate over long distances, while high modes are more likely to dissipate locally, near the generation site. It is found that the difference between the vertical distributions of the tidal conversion into the vertical modes is smaller for the case of very deep ocean than the shallow-ocean depth. The results of the present work pave the way for future work on the vertical and horizontal distribution of the mixing caused by internal tides.

Corresponding author address: Saeed Falahat, Dept. of Meteorology, Stockholm University, Stockholm 106 91, Sweden. E-mail: saeed@misu.su.se

Abstract

A direct calculation of the tidal generation of internal waves over the global ocean is presented. The calculation is based on a semianalytical model, assuming that the internal tide characteristic slope exceeds the bathymetric slope (subcritical slope) and the bathymetric height is small relative to the vertical scale of the wave, as well as that the horizontal tidal excursion is smaller than the horizontal topographic scale. The calculation is performed for the M2 tidal constituent. In contrast to previous similar computations, the internal tide is projected onto vertical eigenmodes, which gives two advantages. First, the vertical density profile and the finite ocean depth are taken into account in a fully consistent way, in contrast to earlier work based on the WKB approximation. Nevertheless, the WKB-based total global conversion follows closely that obtained using the eigenmode decomposition in each of the latitudinal and vertical distributions. Second, the information about the distribution of the conversion energy over different vertical modes is valuable, since the lowest modes can propagate over long distances, while high modes are more likely to dissipate locally, near the generation site. It is found that the difference between the vertical distributions of the tidal conversion into the vertical modes is smaller for the case of very deep ocean than the shallow-ocean depth. The results of the present work pave the way for future work on the vertical and horizontal distribution of the mixing caused by internal tides.

Corresponding author address: Saeed Falahat, Dept. of Meteorology, Stockholm University, Stockholm 106 91, Sweden. E-mail: saeed@misu.su.se
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