Internal waves in the East Australian Current

TitleInternal waves in the East Australian Current
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsAlford MH, Sloyan BM, Simmons H.L
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Date Published2017/12
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0094-8276
Accession NumberWOS:000422954700010
Keywordsenergy; generation; Geology; global patterns; inertial waves; internal waves; ocean; part i; propagation; redistribution; tides; turbulent dissipation

Internal waves, which drive most ocean turbulence and add noise to lower-frequency records, interact with low-frequency current systems and topography in yet poorly known ways. Taking advantage of a heavily instrumented, 14 month mooring array, internal waves in the East Australian Current (EAC) are examined for the first time. Internal wave horizontal kinetic energy (HKE) is within a factor of 2 of the Garrett-Munk (1976) spectrum. Continuum internal waves, near-inertial waves, and internal tides together constitute a significant percentage of the total velocity variance. Mode-1 internal tide energy fluxes are southward and much smaller than energy times group velocity, consistent with reflection at the continental slope of incident waves generated from near New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands. Internal tide HKE is highly phase variable, consistent with refraction by the variable EAC. Mode-1 near-inertial wave energy fluxes are of comparable magnitude and are equatorward and episodic, consistent with generation by storms farther poleward. These processes are considered together in the complex environment of the EAC.

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