Nonlinear internal waves over New Jersey's continental shelf

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Shroyer, Emily L.
Moum, James N.
Nash, Jonathan D.
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Nonlinear internal waves
Shelf processes
Internal tide
Ship and mooring data collected off the coast of New Jersey are used to describe the nonlinear internal wave (NLIW) field and the background oceanographic conditions that formed the waveguide on the shelf. The subinertial, inertial, and tidal circulation are described in detail, and the background fluid state is characterized using the coefficients of the extended Korteweg–de Vries equation. The utility of this type of analysis is demonstrated in description of an amplitude-limited, flat wave. NLIWs observed over most of the month had typical displacements of −8 m, but waves observed from 17–21 August were almost twice as large with displacements near −15 m. During most of the month, wave packets occurred irregularly at a fixed location, and often more than one packet was observed per M2 tidal period. In contrast, the arrival times of the large-amplitude wave groups observed over 17–21 August were more closely phased with the barotropic tide. The time span in which the largest NLIWs were observed corresponded to neap barotropic conditions, but when the shoreward baroclinic energy flux was elevated. During the time of large NLIWs, near-inertial waves were a dominate contributor to the internal motions on the shelf and apparently regulated wave formation, as destructive/constructive modulation of the M2 internal tide by the inertial wavefield at the shelf break corresponded to stronger/weaker NLIWs on the shelf.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2011. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Geophysical Research 116 (2011): C03022, doi:10.1029/2010JC006332.
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Journal of Geophysical Research 116 (2011): C03022
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