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Oceanic Mesoscale Eddy Depletion Catalyzed by Internal Waves

Abstract : The processes leading to the depletion of oceanic mesoscale kinetic energy (KE) and the energization of near-inertial internal waves are investigated using a suite of realistically forced regional ocean simulations. By carefully modifying the forcing fields we show that solutions where internal waves are forced have ∼25% less mesoscale KE compared with solutions where they are not. We apply a coarse-graining method to quantify the KE fluxes across time scales and demonstrate that the decrease in mesoscale KE is associated with an internal wave-induced reduction of the inverse energy cascade and an enhancement of the forward energy cascade from sub-to super-inertial frequencies. The integrated KE forward transfer rate in the upper ocean is equivalent to half and a quarter of the regionally averaged near-inertial wind work in winter and summer, respectively, with the strongest fluxes localized at surface submesoscale fronts and filaments.
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https://hal-insu.archives-ouvertes.fr/insu-03683256
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Submitted on : Tuesday, May 31, 2022 - 5:16:16 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, June 1, 2022 - 3:39:00 AM

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Roy Barkan, Kaushik Srinivasan, Luwei yang, James C. Mcwilliams, Jonathan Gula, et al.. Oceanic Mesoscale Eddy Depletion Catalyzed by Internal Waves. Geophysical Research Letters, 2021, 48, ⟨10.1029/2021GL094376⟩. ⟨insu-03683256⟩

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