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Rapid generation of high-frequency internal waves beneath a wind and wave forced oceanic surface mixed layer

Polton, Jeff A.; Smith, Jerome A.; MacKinnon, J. A.; Tejada-Martinez, Andres E.. 2008 Rapid generation of high-frequency internal waves beneath a wind and wave forced oceanic surface mixed layer. Geophysical Research Letters, 35, L13602. 5, pp. 10.1029/2008GL033856

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Abstract/Summary

High-frequency internal waves generated by Langmuir motions over stratified water may be an important source of turbulent mixing below the surface mixed-layer. Large eddy simulations of a developing mixed-layer and inertial current are employed to investigate this phenomena. Uniform surface wind stress and parallel Stokes drift wave forcing rapidly establishes a turbulent mixed-layer flow, which (as the inertial motion veers off the wind) generates high-frequency internal waves in the stratified fluid below. The internal waves evolve such that their vector phase velocity matches the depth-averaged mixed-layer velocity that rotates as an inertial oscillation. The internal waves drain energy and momentum from the mixed-layer on decay time-scales that are comparable to those of near-inertial oscillations. The high-frequency waves, which are likely to be trapped in the transition layer, may significantly contribute to mixing there and thus provide a potentially important energy sink for mixed-layer inertial motions.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1029/2008GL033856
Programmes: Other/Admin
ISSN: 0094-8276
Additional Keywords: INTERNAL WAVES; LANGMUIR CIRCULATION; MIXING; DIFFUSION; TURBULENCE; DYNAMICS
NORA Subject Terms: Marine Sciences
Date made live: 13 Dec 2011 17:12
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/16035

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