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Observations of diurnal coastal-trapped waves with a thermocline-intensified velocity field

TitleObservations of diurnal coastal-trapped waves with a thermocline-intensified velocity field
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsSchlosser T.L, Jones N.L, Musgrave R.C, Bluteau C.E, Ivey G.N, Lucas A.J
Date Published2019/07
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0022-3670
Accession NumberWOS:000475628100001
Keywordsaustralia; Boundary currents; circulation; Continental shelf; dynamics; energy; generation; internal tides; ocean; oceanic; oceanography; Shelf; slope; turbulence; waves

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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