173 Stimulated Imbalance and the Enhancement of Eddy Kinetic Energy Dissipation by Internal Waves

Thursday, 29 June 2017
Salon A-E (Marriott Portland Downtown Waterfront)
Roy Barkan, University of California, Los Angeles, CA; and K. B. Winters and J. C. McWilliams

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 (Figure 1). Two processes are examined: the direct extraction of mesoscale energy by externally forced IWs followed by an IW forward energy cascade to dissipation and stimu- lated 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 (Figure 2) 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 Ek 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.

For more information please look for: Barkan Roy, Kraig B. Winters, and James C. McWilliams. ”Stimulated Imbalance and the Enhancement of Eddy Kinetic Energy Dissipation by Internal Waves.” Journal of Physical Oceanography (2017), 47, 181-198.


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