Critical layers and the Garrett-Munk spectrum
Ruddick, Barry R.
MetadataShow full item record
The effects of critical level absorption of oceanic internal waves by a mean flow are estimated using the Garrett and Munk (1975) model spectrum. The horizontal currents of the wave field are found to be more intense perpendicular to the mean flow than parallel to it. The cause of this anisotropy is preferential absorption of waves travelling with the mean flow. However, the current anisotropy is only half as large as would be necessary to explain Frankignoul's (1974) observations. The wave momentum flux lost to critical level absorption is found to be nearly proportional to the mean velocity. When the momentum flux is deposited throughout a 400 m thick shear zone, typical of the main thermocline in the North-west Atlantic, the observed stress-shear relationship would correspond to a wave-induced eddy viscosity of -200 cm2 s-1. The effect of the absorbed momentum on the mean flow is to cause a slow (5 m/day) downward phase propagation and slow broadening of the shear profile.
Also published as: Journal of Marine Research 38 (1980): 135~145