High-frequency internal waves and thick bottom mixed layers observed by gliders in the Gulf Stream
Todd, Robert E.
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Autonomous underwater gliders are conducting high-resolution surveys within the Gulf Stream along the U.S. East Coast. Glider surveys reveal two mechanisms by which energy is extracted from the Gulf Stream as it flows over the Blake Plateau, a portion of the outer continental shelf between Florida and North Carolina where bottom depths are less than 1000 m. Internal waves with vertical velocities exceeding 0.1 m s−1 and frequencies just below the local buoyancy frequency are routinely found over the Blake Plateau, particularly near the Charleston Bump, a prominent topographic feature. These waves are likely internal lee waves generated by the subinertial Gulf Stream flow over the irregular bathymetry of the outer continental shelf. Bottom mixed layers with O(100) m thickness are also frequently encountered; these thick bottom mixed layers likely form in the lee of topography due to enhanced turbulence generated by O(1) m s−1 near-bottom flows.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2017. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Geophysical Research Letters 44 (2017): 6316–6325, doi:10.1002/2017GL072580.
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