Cooling and internal waves on the Continental Shelf
Pringle, James M.
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The evolution of a coastal ocean undergoing uniform surface heat loss is examined. The dynamics of this ocean are initially modulated by the intense vertical mixing driven by surface cooling. The strong vertical mixing prevents the formation of geostrophic flows and inhibits the cross-shelf flux of heat. The vertical mixing is eventually suppressed by the advective transport of cold, dense water offshore. Once this happens, alongshore geostrophic flows form, and become baroclinically unstable. The surface heat flux is then balanced by a cross-shelf eddy heat flux. Scales are found for the cross-shelf density gradient which results from this balance. Solutions for linear internal waves are found for a wedge-shaped bathymetry with bottom friction. Bottom friction is capable of entirely dissipating the waves before they reach the coast, and waves traveling obliquely offshore are reflected back to the coast from a caustic. The internal wave climate near two moorings of the Coastal Ocean Dynamics Experiment observation program is analyzed. The high frequency internal wave energy levels were elevated above the Garrett and Munk spectrum, and the spectrum becomes less red as one moves to the shore. The wave field is dominated by vertical-mode one waves, and internal wave energy propagates shoreward.
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution June 1998
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