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Oceanic mesoscale eddy depletion catalyzed by internal waves
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  • Roy Barkan,
  • Kaushik Srinivasan,
  • Luwei Yang,
  • James C. McWilliams,
  • Jonathan Gula,
  • Clément Vic
Roy Barkan
Tel Aviv University

Corresponding Author:rbarkan@tauex.tau.ac.il

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Kaushik Srinivasan
University of California Los Angeles
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Luwei Yang
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James C. McWilliams
University of California Los Angeles
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Jonathan Gula
Université de Bretagne Occidentale
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Clément Vic
University of Southampton
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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 a result of 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.
28 Sep 2021Published in Geophysical Research Letters volume 48 issue 18. 10.1029/2021GL094376