Internal Waves in the East Australian Current

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Alford, Matthew; Sloyan, Bernadette; Simmons, Harper


Journal Article

Geophysical Research Letters




Internal waves, which drive most ocean turbulence and add “noise” to lower‐frequency records, interact with low‐frequency current systems and topography in yet poorly known ways. Taking advantage of a heavily instrumented, 14 month mooring array, internal waves in the East Australian Current (EAC) are examined for the first time. Internal wave horizontal kinetic energy (HKE) is within a factor of 2 of the Garrett‐Munk (1976) spectrum. Continuum internal waves, near‐inertial waves, and internal tides together constitute a significant percentage of the total velocity variance. Mode‐1 internal tide energy fluxes are southward and much smaller than energy times group velocity, consistent with reflection at the continental slope of incident waves generated from near New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands. Internal tide HKE is highly phase variable, consistent with refraction by the variable EAC. Mode‐1 near‐inertial wave energy fluxes are of comparable magnitude and are equatorward and episodic, consistent with generation by storms farther poleward. These processes are considered together in the complex environment of the EAC.

American Geophysical Union

Internal; Waves; East Australian Current

Biological Sciences not elsewhere classified


Journal article - Refereed


Alford, Matthew; Sloyan, Bernadette; Simmons, Harper. Internal Waves in the East Australian Current. Geophysical Research Letters. 2017; 44(24):12,280-12,288.

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