TY - JOUR
AB - Previous numerical studies of the dissipation of internal tides in idealized settings suggest the existence of a critical latitude (~29°) where dissipation is enhanced. But observations only indicate a modest enhancement at this latitude. To resolve this difference between observational and numerical results, the authors study the latitudinal dependence of internal tides’ dissipation in more realistic conditions. In particular, the ocean is not a quiescent medium; the presence of large-scale currents or mesoscale eddies can impact the propagation and dissipation of internal tides. This paper investigates the impact of a weak background mean current in numerical simulations. The authors focus on the local dissipation of high spatial mode internal waves near their generation site. The vertical profile of dissipation and its variation with latitude without the mean current are consistent with earlier studies. But adding a weak mean current has a major impact on the latitudinal distribution of dissipation. The peak at the critical latitude disappears, and the dissipation is closer to a constant, albeit with two weak peaks at ~25° and ~35° latitude. This disappearance results from the Doppler shift of the internal tides’ frequency, which hinders the nonlinear transfer of energy to small-scale secondary waves via the parametric subharmonic instability (PSI). The new two weak peaks correspond to the Doppler-shifted critical latitudes of the left- and right-propagating waves. The results are confirmed in simulations with simple sinusoidal topography. Thus, although nonlinear transfers via PSI are efficient at dissipating internal tides, the exact location of the dissipation is sensitive to large-scale oceanic conditions.
AU - Richet, O.
AU - Muller, Caroline J
AU - Chomaz, J.-M.
ID - 9152
IS - 6
JF - Journal of Physical Oceanography
KW - Oceanography
SN - 0022-3670
TI - Impact of a mean current on the internal tide energy dissipation at the critical latitude
VL - 47
ER -