Observations of internal bores and waves of elevation on the New England inner continental shelf during summer 2001

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Pritchard, Mark
Weller, Robert A.
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Internal waves
Internal waves of elevation
During July–August 2001, oceanographic variability on the New England inner continental shelf was investigated with an emphasis on temporal scales shorter than tidal periods. Mooring and ship survey data showed that subtidal variation of inner shelf stratification was in response to regional Ekman upwelling and downwelling wind driven dynamics. High-frequency variability in the vertical structure of the water column at an offshore mooring site was linked to the baroclinic internal tide and the onshore propagation of nonlinear solitary waves of depression. Temperature, salinity, and velocity data measured at an inshore mooring detected a bottom bore that formed on the flood phase of the tide. During the ebb tide, a second bottom discontinuity and series of nonlinear internal waves of elevation (IWOE) formed when the water column became for a time under hydraulic control. A surface manifestation of these internal wave crests was also observed in aircraft remote sensing imagery. The coupling of IWOE formation to the offshore solitary waves packets was investigated through internal wave breaking criterion derived in earlier laboratory studies. Results suggested that the offshore solitons shoaled on the sloping shelf, and transformed from waves of depression to waves of elevation. The coupling of inshore bore formation to the offshore solitary waves and the possible impact of these periodic features on mixing on the inner shelf region are discussed.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2005. 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 110 (2005): C03020, doi:10.1029/2004JC002377.
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Journal of Geophysical Research 110 (2005): C03020
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