Storms modify baroclinic energy fluxes in a seasonally stratified shelf sea: Inertial-tidal interaction

Joanne E. Hopkins, Gordon R., Jr. Stephenson, J. A. M. Green, Mark E. Inall, Matthew R. Palmer

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22 Citations (Scopus)


Observations made near the Celtic Sea shelf edge are used to investigate the interaction between wind-generated near-inertial oscillations and the semidiurnal internal tide. Linear, baroclinic energy fluxes within the near-inertial (f) and semidiurnal (M2) wave bands are calculated from measurements of velocity and density structure at two moorings located 40 km from the internal tidal generation zone. Over the 2 week deployment period, the semidiurnal tide drove 28–48 W m−1 of energy directly on-shelf. Little spring-neap variability could be detected. Horizontal near-inertial energy fluxes were an order of magnitude weaker, but nonlinear interaction between the vertical shear of inertial oscillations and the vertical velocity associated with the semidiurnal internal tide led to a 25–43% increase in positive on-shelf energy flux. The phase relationship between f and M2 determines whether this nonlinear interaction enhances or dampens the linear tidal component of the flux, and introduces a 2 day counter-clockwise beating to the energy transport. Two very clear contrasting regimes of (a) tidally and (b) inertially driven shear and energy flux are captured in the observations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6863-6883
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research-Oceans
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014


  • near-inertial
  • shelf sea
  • nonlinear interaction
  • energy flux
  • internal tide


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