The Tasman Sea Internal Tide
Surface tides supply about 1 TW of power to internal tides as tidal currents attempt to flow over undersea mountains. Most this internal-tidal energy propagates away from its generation region in the form of low-mode internal tides. The ultimate fate of this energy is unknown. The specific geography of energy dissipation has a large impact on the overall circulation of the ocean, its biological functioning, and our climate.
One of the most energetic and focused beams of internal-tide energy is generated south of New Zealand. It propagates 1,500 km across the Tasman Sea, and strikes the Tasman continental margin. The goal of the NSF-funded Tasman Tidal Dissipation Experiment (T-TIDE) is to see what happens next.
T-TIDE and companion experiments T-Beam and T-Shelf will together examine the dissipation of the internal tide as it shoals on the Tasmanian continental slope. T-Shelf will focus on the shallow Tasmanian continental shelf, and the costal consequences of the incoming tidal energy. T-Beam will enhance T-TIDE by providing synoptic measurements of the incident internal-tide energy flux , providing the initial conditions for the dissipation experiments.
A decade ago, the Hawaiian Ocean Mixing Experiment (HOME) provided a comprehensive look at the internal tide generation process. Together, T-TIDE, T-Beam and T-Shelf will complete that life cycle by providing the first comprehensive observations of an internal-tide beam as it propagates through the open ocean and dissipates and/or reflects from a continental slope.
The T-Teams will be out at sea from January 9 to March 11, 2015 on the R/V Revelle and the R/V Falkor deploying mooring, using state of the art instruments all to measure the internal waves in the Tasman Sea!