Antarctic circumpolar current impacts on internal wave life cycles
Waterman, Stephanie N.
Polzin, Kurt L.
Naveira Garabato, Alberto C.
Sheen, Katy L.
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Keywordinternal waves; internal wave-driven turbulent mixing; internal wave-mesoscale flow interactions; Southern Ocean
Major gaps exist in our understanding of the pathways between internal wave generation and breaking in the Southern Ocean, with important implications for the distribution of internal wave-driven mixing, the sensitivity of ocean mixing rates and patterns to changes in the ocean environment, and the necessary ingredients of mixing parameterizations. Here we assess the dominant processes in internal wave evolution by characterizing wave and mesoscale flow scales based on full-depth in situ measurements in a Southern Ocean mixing hot spot and a ray tracing calculation. The exercise highlights the importance of Antarctic Circumpolar Current jets as a dominant influence on internal wave life cycles through advection, the modification of wave characteristics via wave-mean flow interactions, and the set-up of critical layers for both upward- and downward-propagating waves. Our findings suggest that it is important to represent mesoscale flow impacts in parameterizations of internal wave-driven mixing in the Southern Ocean.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2021. 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 48(8), (2021): e2020GL089471, https://doi.org/10.1029/2020GL089471.
Suggested CitationWaterman, S., Meyer, A., Polzin, K. L., Garabato, A. C. N., & Sheen, K. L. (2021). Antarctic circumpolar current impacts on internal wave life cycles. Geophysical Research Letters, 48(8), e2020GL089471.
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