Nonlinear Waves on the Inner-shelf

Internal waves contribute substantially to mixing and the cross-shelf exchange of material, energy, and heat on the inner-shelf.  In coastal environments, internal waves can be highly-nonlinear and can evolve quickly as they move into shallowing water depths.  While we know that nonlinear internal waves modify inner-shelf stratification, mixing and transport, their relative importance and spatiotemporal variability are still open research topics.


Figure of the Inner Shelf Dynamics Experiment site from Lerczak et al. 2019. (borrowed with permission)  

The 2017 Inner Shelf Dynamics Experiment (Lerczak et al. 2019) provides a unique and well-resolved dataset to study the propagation and evolution of internal waves from the mid (~100m depth) to inner (~10m) shelf of central California.  I use data from both moorings and shipboard surveys, complemented by remote sensing data from collaborators, to understand the dynamics modulating how nonlinear internal waves evolve across shore.  I focus on the influences of spatiotemporal variability of the waveguide, including both along-shore and across-shore changes in stratification, waves speed, and semidiurnal kinetic energy.      

McSweeney, J.M., J.A. Lerczak, J.A. Barth, J. Becherer, J.A. Colosi, J.A. MacKinnon, J.H. MacMahan, J.N. Moum, S.D. Pierce, and A.F. Waterhouse, Observations of Shoaling Nonlinear Internal Bores Across the Central California Inner Shelf. J. Phys. Oceanogr.0doi:10.1175/JPO-D-19-0125.1