Stimulated imbalance and the enhancement of eddy kinetic energy dissipation by internal waves

Citation:
Barkan, R, Winters KB, McWilliams JC.  2017.  Stimulated imbalance and the enhancement of eddy kinetic energy dissipation by internal waves. Journal of Physical Oceanography. 47:181-198.

Date Published:

2017/01

Keywords:

antarctic circumpolar current, balance, energetics, generation, geostrophic flow, instability, mesoscale, model, ocean inertial motions, wind

Abstract:

The effects of internal waves (IWs), externally forced by high-frequency wind, on energy pathways are studied in submesoscale-resolving numerical simulations of an idealized wind-driven channel flow. Two processes are examined: the direct extraction of mesoscale energy by externally forced IWs followed by an IW forward energy cascade to dissipation and stimulated imbalance, a mechanism through which externally forced IWs trigger a forward mesoscale to submesoscale energy cascade to dissipation. This study finds that the frequency and wavenumber spectral slopes are shallower in solutions with high-frequency forcing compared to solutions without and that the volume-averaged interior kinetic energy dissipation rate increases tenfold. The ratio between the enhanced dissipation rate and the added high-frequency wind work is 1.3, demonstrating the significance of the IW-mediated forward cascades. Temporal-scale analysis of energy exchanges among low-(mesoscale), intermediate-(submesoscale), and high-frequency (IW) bands shows a corresponding increase in kinetic energy E-k and available potential energy APE transfers from mesoscales to submesoscales (stimulated imbalance) and mesoscales to IWs (direct extraction). Two direct extraction routes are identified: a mesoscale to IW Ek transfer and a mesoscale to IW APE transfer followed by an IW APE to IW Ek conversion. Spatial-scale analysis of eddy-IW interaction in solutions with high-frequency forcing shows an equivalent increase in forward Ek and APE transfers inside both anticyclones and cyclones.

Notes:

n/a

Website

DOI:

10.1175/jpo-d-16-0117.1