Interactions Between Nonlinear Internal Ocean Waves and the Atmosphere
Journal Article - Open Access
NAVAL RESEARCH LAB WASHINGTON DC WASHINGTON United States
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The heterogeneity in surface roughness caused by transient, nonlinear internal ocean waves is readily observed in coastal waters. However, the quantifiable impact this heterogeneity has on the marine atmospheric surface layer has not been documented. A comprehensive data set collected from a unique ocean platform provided a novel opportunity to investigate the interaction between this internal ocean process and the atmosphere. Relative to the background atmospheric flow, the presence of internal waves drove wind velocity and stress variance. Furthermore, it is shown that the wind gradient adjusts across individual wave fronts, setting up localized shear that enhanced the air-sea momentum flux over the internal wave packet. This process was largely mechanical, though secondary impacts on the bulk humidity variance and gradient were observed. This study provides the first quantitative analysis of this phenomenon and provides insights into submesoscale air-sea interactions over a transient, internal ocean feature.
- Physical and Dynamic Oceanography