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Journal Articles Geophysical Research Letters Year : 2021

Oceanic Mesoscale Eddy Depletion Catalyzed by Internal Waves

Roy Barkan
  • Function : Author
Kaushik Srinivasan
  • Function : Author
Luwei Yang
  • Function : Author
James C. Mcwilliams
  • Function : Author
Clément Vic
  • Function : Author


The processes leading to the depletion of oceanic mesoscale kinetic energy (KE) and the energization of near-inertial internal waves are investigated using a suite of realistically forced regional ocean simulations. By carefully modifying the forcing fields we show that solutions where internal waves are forced have ∼25% less mesoscale KE compared with solutions where they are not. We apply a coarse-graining method to quantify the KE fluxes across time scales and demonstrate that the decrease in mesoscale KE is associated with an internal wave-induced reduction of the inverse energy cascade and an enhancement of the forward energy cascade from sub-to super-inertial frequencies. The integrated KE forward transfer rate in the upper ocean is equivalent to half and a quarter of the regionally averaged near-inertial wind work in winter and summer, respectively, with the strongest fluxes localized at surface submesoscale fronts and filaments.
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Dates and versions

insu-03683256 , version 1 (31-05-2022)





Roy Barkan, Kaushik Srinivasan, Luwei Yang, James C. Mcwilliams, Jonathan Gula, et al.. Oceanic Mesoscale Eddy Depletion Catalyzed by Internal Waves. Geophysical Research Letters, 2021, 48, ⟨10.1029/2021GL094376⟩. ⟨insu-03683256⟩
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