Energetics of M-2 barotropic-to-baroclinic tidal conversion at the Hawaiian Islands

G S Carter, M A Merrifield, J M Becker, K Katsumata, M C Gregg, D S Luther, M D Levine, Tim Boyd, Y L Firing

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Abstract

A high-resolution primitive equation model simulation is used to form an energy budget for the principal semidiurnal tide (M-2) over a region of the Hawaiian Ridge from Niihau to Maui. This region includes the Kaena Ridge, one of the three main internal tide generation sites along the Hawaiian Ridge and the main study site of the Hawaii Ocean Mixing Experiment. The 0.01 degrees-horizontal resolution simulation has a high level of skill when compared to satellite and in situ sea level observations, moored ADCP currents, and notably reasonable agreement with microstructure data. Barotropic and baroclinic energy equations are derived from the model's sigma coordinate governing equations and are evaluated from the model simulation to form an energy budget. The M-2 barotropic tide loses 2.7 GW of energy over the study region. Of this, 163 MW (6%) is dissipated by bottom friction and 2.3 GW (85%) is converted into internal tides. Internal tide generation primarily occurs along the flanks of the Kaena Ridge and south of Niihau and Kauai. The majority of the baroclinic energy (1.7 GW) is radiated out of the model domain, while 0.45 GW is dissipated close to the generation regions. The modeled baroclinic dissipation within the 1000-m isobath for the Kaena Ridge agrees to within a factor of 2 with the area-weighted dissipation from 313 microstructure profiles. Topographic resolution is important, with the present 0.01 degrees resolution model resulting in 20% more barotropic-to-baroclinic conversion compared to when the same analysis is performed on a 4-km resolution simulation. A simple extrapolation of these results to the entire Hawaiian Ridge is in qualitative agreement with recent estimates based on satellite altimetry data.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2205-2223
Number of pages19
JournalJ PHYS OCEANOGR
Volume38
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Keywords

  • KAENA RIDGE
  • DEEP-OCEAN
  • INTERNAL TIDE
  • DISSIPATION
  • TURBULENCE
  • GENERATION
  • PACIFIC-OCEAN
  • SURFACE MANIFESTATION
  • Oceanography
  • MODEL
  • MONTEREY SUBMARINE-CANYON

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    Carter, G. S., Merrifield, M. A., Becker, J. M., Katsumata, K., Gregg, M. C., Luther, D. S., Levine, M. D., Boyd, T., & Firing, Y. L. (2008). Energetics of M-2 barotropic-to-baroclinic tidal conversion at the Hawaiian Islands. J PHYS OCEANOGR, 38(10), 2205-2223. https://doi.org/10.1175/2008JPO3860.1