Observations over an annual cycle and simulations of wind-forced oscillations near the critical latitude for diurnal-inertial resonance

Hyder, P.; Simpson, J. H.; Xing, J.; Gille, S. T.. 2011 Observations over an annual cycle and simulations of wind-forced oscillations near the critical latitude for diurnal-inertial resonance. Continental Shelf Research, 31 (15). 1576-1591. 10.1016/j.csr.2011.06.001

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Sea breezes are characteristic features of coastal regions that can extend large distances from the coastline. Oscillations close to the inertial period are thought to account for around half the kinetic energy in the global surface ocean and play an important role in mixing. In the vicinity of 30°N/S, through a resonance between the diurnal and inertial frequencies, diurnal winds could force enhanced anti-cyclonic rotary motions that contribute to near-inertial energy. Observations of strong diurnal anti-cyclonic currents in water of depth 175 m off the Namibian coastline at 28.6°S are analysed over the annual cycle. Maxima in the diurnal anti-cyclonic current and wind stress amplitudes appear to be observed during the austral summer. Both the diurnal anti-cyclonic current and wind stress components have approximately constant phase throughout the year. These observations provide further evidence that these diurnal currents may be wind forced. Realistic General Ocean Turbulence Model (GOTM) 1-D simulations of diurnal wind forcing, including the first order coast-normal surface slope response to diurnal wind forcing, represent the principal features of the observed diurnal anti-cyclonic current but do not replicate the observed vertical diurnal current structure accurately. Cross-shelf 2-D slice simulations suggest that the first order surface slope response approximation applies away from the coast (>140 km). However, nearer to the coast, additional surface slope variations associated with spatial variations in the simulated velocity field (estimated from Bernoulli theory) appear to be significant and also result in transfer of energy to higher harmonics. Evidence from 3-D simulations at similar latitude in the northern hemisphere suggests that 3-D variations, including propagating near-inertial waves, may also need to be considered

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1016/j.csr.2011.06.001
Programmes: Oceans 2025 > Next generation ocean prediction systems
ISSN: 0278-4343
NORA Subject Terms: Marine Sciences
Date made live: 27 Oct 2011 10:43 +0 (UTC)

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