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  • Author or Editor: Ruth C. Musgrave x
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Edward D. Zaron, Ruth C. Musgrave, and Gary D. Egbert

Abstract

The energetics of baroclinic tides are analyzed using the High Resolution Empirical Tide (HRET) model. The HRET model consists of maps of the sea surface height (SSH) anomaly associated with that component of the tides’ baroclinic pressure fields, which are phase locked with the gravitational tidal potential. The dynamical assumptions underpinning the transformation of SSH into corresponding baroclinic velocity and energy flux are examined critically through comparisons with independent information and term balances in the equations of motion. It is found that the HRET-derived phase speed of the mode-1 baroclinic tide agrees closely with the phase speed predicted by the theory for long waves propagating through the observed climatological stratification. The HRET SSH is decomposed into contributions from separate vertical modes, and the energy, energy flux, and energy flux divergence of mode-1 (for M2, S2, K1, and O1) and mode-2 (for M2) tides are computed, with an emphasis on the most accurately determined mode-1 M2. The flux divergence of HRET mode-1 M2, computed as the contour integral of the outbound normal flux around strong generation regions, is found to correspond with independent estimates of the area-integrated barotropic-to-baroclinic-mode-1 conversion, although, there is considerable uncertainty in both the flux divergence and the barotropic-to-baroclinic conversion. Further progress on mapping the baroclinic tidal energetics from altimeter observations will require more dynamically complete descriptions of the baroclinic tides than can be provided by kinematic models of SSH, such as HRET.

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Magdalena Andres, Ruth C. Musgrave, Daniel L. Rudnick, Kristin L. Zeiden, Thomas Peacock, and Jae-Hun Park

Abstract

As part of the Flow Encountering Abrupt Topography (FLEAT) program, an array of pressure-sensor equipped inverted echo sounders (PIESs) was deployed north of Palau where the westward-flowing North Equatorial Current encounters the southern end of the Kyushu–Palau Ridge in the tropical North Pacific. Capitalizing on concurrent observations from satellite altimetry, FLEAT Spray gliders, and shipboard hydrography, the PIESs’ 10-month duration hourly bottom pressure p and round-trip acoustic travel time τ records are used to examine the magnitude and predictability of sea level and pycnocline depth changes and to track signal propagations through the array. Sea level and pycnocline depth are found to vary in response to a range of ocean processes, with their magnitude and predictability strongly process dependent. Signals characterized here comprise the barotropic tides, semidiurnal and diurnal internal tides, southeastward-propagating superinertial waves, westward-propagating mesoscale eddies, and a strong signature of sea level increase and pycnocline deepening associated with the region’s relaxation from El Niño to La Niña conditions. The presence of a broad band of superinertial waves just above the inertial frequency was unexpected and the FLEAT observations and output from a numerical model suggest that these waves detected near Palau are forced by remote winds east of the Philippines. The PIES-based estimates of pycnocline displacement are found to have large uncertainties relative to overall variability in pycnocline depth, as localized deep current variations arising from interactions of the large-scale currents with the abrupt topography around Palau have significant travel time variability.

Open access
Amy F. Waterhouse, Jennifer A. Mackinnon, Ruth C. Musgrave, Samuel M. Kelly, Andy Pickering, and Jonathan Nash

Abstract

Observations from Eel Canyon, located on the north coast of California, show that elevated turbulence in the full water column arises from the convergence of remotely generated internal wave energy. The incoming semidiurnal and bottom-trapped diurnal internal tides generate complex interference patterns. The semidiurnal internal tide sets up a partly standing wave within the canyon due to reflection at the canyon head, dissipating all of its energy within the canyon. Dissipation in the near bottom is associated with the diurnal trapped tide, while midwater isopycnal shear and strain is associated with the semidiurnal tide. Dissipation is elevated up to 600 m off the bottom, in contrast to observations over the flat continental shelf where dissipation occurs closer to the topography. Slope canyons are sinks for internal wave energy and may have important influences on the global distribution of tidally driven mixing.

Full access
Tamara L. Schlosser, Nicole L. Jones, Ruth C. Musgrave, Cynthia E. Bluteau, Gregory N. Ivey, and Andrew J. Lucas

Abstract

Using 18 days of field observations, we investigate the diurnal (D1) frequency wave dynamics on the Tasmanian eastern continental shelf. At this latitude, the D1 frequency is subinertial and separable from the highly energetic near-inertial motion. We use a linear coastal-trapped wave (CTW) solution with the observed background current, stratification, and shelf bathymetry to determine the modal structure of the first three resonant CTWs. We associate the observed D1 velocity with a superimposed mode-zero and mode-one CTW, with mode one dominating mode zero. Both the observed and mode-one D1 velocity was intensified near the thermocline, with stronger velocities occurring when the thermocline stratification was stronger and/or the thermocline was deeper (up to the shelfbreak depth). The CTW modal structure and amplitude varied with the background stratification and alongshore current, with no spring–neap relationship evident for the observed 18 days. Within the surface and bottom Ekman layers on the shelf, the observed velocity phase changed in the cross-shelf and/or vertical directions, inconsistent with an alongshore propagating CTW. In the near-surface and near-bottom regions, the linear CTW solution also did not match the observed velocity, particularly within the bottom Ekman layer. Boundary layer processes were likely causing this observed inconsistency with linear CTW theory. As linear CTW solutions have an idealized representation of boundary dynamics, they should be cautiously applied on the shelf.

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Jennifer A. MacKinnon, Zhongxiang Zhao, Caitlin B. Whalen, Amy F. Waterhouse, David S. Trossman, Oliver M. Sun, Louis C. St. Laurent, Harper L. Simmons, Kurt Polzin, Robert Pinkel, Andrew Pickering, Nancy J. Norton, Jonathan D. Nash, Ruth Musgrave, Lynne M. Merchant, Angelique V. Melet, Benjamin Mater, Sonya Legg, William G. Large, Eric Kunze, Jody M. Klymak, Markus Jochum, Steven R. Jayne, Robert W. Hallberg, Stephen M. Griffies, Steve Diggs, Gokhan Danabasoglu, Eric P. Chassignet, Maarten C. Buijsman, Frank O. Bryan, Bruce P. Briegleb, Andrew Barna, Brian K. Arbic, Joseph K. Ansong, and Matthew H. Alford

Abstract

Diapycnal mixing plays a primary role in the thermodynamic balance of the ocean and, consequently, in oceanic heat and carbon uptake and storage. Though observed mixing rates are on average consistent with values required by inverse models, recent attention has focused on the dramatic spatial variability, spanning several orders of magnitude, of mixing rates in both the upper and deep ocean. Away from ocean boundaries, the spatiotemporal patterns of mixing are largely driven by the geography of generation, propagation, and dissipation of internal waves, which supply much of the power for turbulent mixing. Over the last 5 years and under the auspices of U.S. Climate Variability and Predictability Program (CLIVAR), a National Science Foundation (NSF)- and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)-supported Climate Process Team has been engaged in developing, implementing, and testing dynamics-based parameterizations for internal wave–driven turbulent mixing in global ocean models. The work has primarily focused on turbulence 1) near sites of internal tide generation, 2) in the upper ocean related to wind-generated near inertial motions, 3) due to internal lee waves generated by low-frequency mesoscale flows over topography, and 4) at ocean margins. Here, we review recent progress, describe the tools developed, and discuss future directions.

Open access