The variability of the large-amplitude internal wave field on the Australian North West Shelf

P.J. Van Gastel, Gregory Ivey, Michael Meuleners, Jason Antenucci, O. Fringer

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Observations are presented of large-amplitude internal waves (LAIWs) generated by the steepening of the internal tide on the Australian North West Shelf (NWS) over a 4-month period extending from strongly stratified summer conditions to weakly stratified winter conditions. The observations are from a site in water depth of 124 m where current and temperature measurements were made from a fixed vertical mooring and a benthic L-shaped spatial array. The observations show the LAIWs at this site to be characterized by strong seasonal variability, with energetic LAIWs of depression being dominant during summer and weaker LAIWs of elevation being dominant during the winter months as the stratification weakens, the upper mixed layer deepens, and the thermocline is close to the bottom. Waves were also seen to propagate from a range of directions towards the observation site. Modeling using the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS v2.1) revealed that internal tide generation in the area occurred at water depths of between 400 and 600 m along an arc of approximately 120 km in length, some 70 km to the northwest of our experimental site. The results demonstrate both the 3D nature as well as the seasonal variation of the LAIW field.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1373-1383
JournalContinental Shelf Research
Issue number11-12
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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