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Directional Characteristics of Inner Shelf Internal Tides

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Master's thesis

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Internal tidal bore events observed at a Monterey Bay inner shelf site are analyzed. A six month data set from the Naval Postgraduate School Monterey Inner Shelf Observatory site included water column current velocities and thermal structure data. Isothermal displacements paired with concurrent velocity observations in the water column were used to assess the events individual characteristics as the internal tidal bores shoal and approach the surf zone. The primary hypothesis tested was that if the internal tidal bores observed at MISO had strong along-shore current velocity signatures, then those bores were most likely generated at the Monterey Bay Submarine Canyon edge or were evidence of an internal edge wave. If velocity signatures were primarily cross-shore, then bores would most likely propagate from straight across the shelf westward from their generation site at the continental shelf break. Visual observations of temperature profiles, current vector plots, linear regressions, and histograms were employed to test the relationships between forcing, stratification, and internal tidal bore forms. The unique aspect of this research is the focus on shoaling effects of internal tidal bores after they have traversed the continental shelf and impinge on the nearshore. Additionally, coastlines with significant bathymetric features, like Monterey Bay, are of operational interest to the military and are prime generation sites for these internal bore and soliton events. Internal tidal bores can directly impact naval special operations specifically, amphibious landings and SEAL Delivery Vehicle operations. Understanding where and how bore and soliton events are generated is beneficial to nearshore modelers and operators.

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  • Physical and Dynamic Oceanography

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