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Free Content Modeling of internal tides in fjords

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A previous model for the distribution of internal tides above irregular topography is generalized to include arbitrary stratification and a radiation condition at the open boundary. Thanks to a small amount of dissipation, this model remains valid in the presence of resonant internal tides, leading to intense wave-energy beams.

An application to a Norwegian fjord correctly reproduces the observed energy pattern consisting of two beams both originating at the 60-meter deep entrance sill and extending in-fjord, one upward toward the surface, the other downward toward the bottom. After correction for the varying width of the fjord, the observed and modelled energy levels are in good agreement, especially in the upper levels where energy is the greatest. Furthermore, the substantial phase lag between these two energy beams revealed by the observations is correctly reproduced by the model. Finally, a third and very narrow energy spike is noted in the model at the level of a secondary bump inward of the sill. This beam is missed by the current meter data, because the current meters were placed only at a few selected depths. But an examination of the salinity profiles reveals a mixed layer at approximately the same depth. The explanation is that high-wave energy leads to wave breaking and vigorous mixing.

The model's greatest advantage is to provide the internal-tide energy distribution throughout the fjord. Discrepancies between observations and model are attributed to coarse vertical resolution in the vicinity of the sill and to unaccounted cross-fjord variations.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 1991

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  • The Journal of Marine Research, one of the oldest journals in American marine science, publishes peer-reviewed research articles covering a broad array of topics in physical, biological and chemical oceanography. Articles that deal with processes, as well as those that report significant observations, are welcome. Biological studies involving coupling between ecological and physical processes are preferred over those that report systematics. The editors strive always to serve authors and readers in the academic oceanographic community by publishing papers vital to the marine research in the long and rich tradition of the Sears Foundation for Marine Research. We welcome you to the Journal of Marine Research.
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