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Johannes Becherer, James N. Moum, Joseph Calantoni, John A. Colosi, John A. Barth, James A. Lerczak, Jacqueline M. McSweeney, Jennifer A. MacKinnon, and Amy F. Waterhouse

Abstract

Broadly distributed measurements of velocity, density, and turbulence spanning the inner shelf off central California indicate that (i) the average shoreward-directed internal tide energy flux FE decreases to near 0 at the 25-m isobath; (ii) the vertically integrated turbulence dissipation rate D is approximately equal to the flux divergence of internal tide energy xFE; (iii) the ratio of turbulence energy dissipation in the interior relative to the bottom boundary layer (BBL) decreases toward shallow waters; (iv) going inshore, FE becomes decorrelated with the incoming internal wave energy flux; and (v) FE becomes increasingly correlated with stratification toward shallower water.

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Johannes Becherer, James N. Moum, Joseph Calantoni, John A. Colosi, John A. Barth, James A. Lerczak, Jacqueline M. McSweeney, Jennifer A. MacKinnon, and Amy F. Waterhouse

Abstract

Here, we develop a framework for understanding the observations presented in Part I. In this framework, the internal tide saturates as it shoals as a result of amplitude limitation with decreasing water depth H. From this framework evolves estimates of averaged energetics of the internal tide; specifically, energy ⟨APE⟩, energy flux ⟨F E⟩, and energy flux divergence ∂xF E⟩. Since we observe that dissipation ⟨D⟩ ≈ ∂xF E⟩, we also interpret our estimate of ∂xF E⟩ as ⟨D⟩. These estimates represent a parameterization of the energy in the internal tide as it saturates over the inner continental shelf. The parameterization depends solely on depth-mean stratification and bathymetry. A summary result is that the cross-shelf depth dependencies of ⟨APE⟩, ⟨F E⟩, and ∂xF E⟩ are analogous to those for shoaling surface gravity waves in the surf zone, suggesting that the inner shelf is the surf zone for the internal tide. A test of our simple parameterization against a range of datasets suggests that it is broadly applicable.

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Jacqueline M. McSweeney, James A. Lerczak, John A. Barth, Johannes Becherer, Jennifer A. MacKinnon, Amy F. Waterhouse, John A. Colosi, Jamie H. MacMahan, Falk Feddersen, Joseph Calantoni, Alexandra Simpson, Sean Celona, Merrick C. Haller, and Eric Terrill

Abstract

Temperature and velocity measurements from 42 moorings were used to investigate the alongshore variability of nonlinear internal bores as they propagated across the central California inner shelf. Moorings were deployed September–October 2017 offshore of the Point Sal headland. Regional coverage was ~30 km alongshore and ~15 km across shore, spanning 9–100-m water depths. In addition to subtidal processes modulating regional stratification, internal bores generated complex spatiotemporal patterns of stratification variability. Internal bores were alongshore continuous on the order of tens of kilometers at the 50-m isobath, but the length scales of frontal continuity decreased to O(1 km) at the 25-m isobath. The depth-averaged, bandpass-filtered (from 3 min to 16 h) internal bore kinetic energy (KEIB¯) was found to be nonuniform along a bore front, even in the case of an alongshore-continuous bore. The pattern of along-bore KEIB¯ variability varied for each bore, but a 2-week average indicated that KEIB¯ was generally strongest around Point Sal. The stratification ahead of a bore influenced both the bore’s amplitude and cross-shore evolution. The data suggest that alongshore stratification gradients can cause a bore to evolve differently at various alongshore locations. Three potential bore fates were observed: 1) bores transiting intact to the 9-m isobath, 2) bores being overrun by faster, subsequent bores, leading to bore-merging events, and 3) bores disappearing when the upstream pycnocline was near or below middepth. Maps of hourly stratification at each mooring and the estimated position of sequential bores demonstrated that an individual internal bore can significantly impact the waveguide of the subsequent bore.

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