Role of Near-Inertial Internal Waves in Subthermocline Diapycnal Mixing in the Northern Gulf of Mexico

  • Jing Z
  • Chang P
  • DiMarco S
 et al. 
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Abstract

AbstractMoored ADCP data collected in the northern Gulf of Mexico are analyzed to examine near-inertial internal waves and their contribution to subthermocline diapycnal mixing based on a finescale parameterization of deep ocean mixing. The focus of the study is on the impact of near-inertial internal waves generated by an extreme weather event—that is, Hurricane Katrina—and by month-to-month variation in weather patterns on the diapycnal mixing. The inferred subthermocline diapycnal mixing exhibits pronounced elevation in the wake of Katrina. Both the increased near-inertial (0.8–1.8f, where f is the Coriolis frequency) and superinertial (>1.8f) shear variances contribute to the elevated diapycnal mixing, but the former plays a more dominant role. The intense wind work on near-inertial motions by the hurricane is largely responsible for the energetic near-inertial shear variance. Energy transfer from near-inertial to superinertial internal waves, however, appears to play an important role in elevating th...

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Authors

  • Zhao Jing

  • Ping Chang

  • Steven F. DiMarco

  • Lixin Wu

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