Energy and heat fluxes due to vertically propagating Yanai waves observed in the equatorial Indian Ocean Public Deposited

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  • Shipboard current measurements in the equatorial Indian Ocean in October and November of 2011 revealed oscillations in the meridional velocity with amplitude ~0.10 m/s. These were clearest in a layer extending from ~300 to 600 m depth and had periods near 3 weeks. Phase propagation was upward. Measurements from two sequential time series at the equator, four meridional transects and one zonal transect are used to identify the oscillation as a Yanai wave packet and to establish its dominant frequency and vertical wavelength. The Doppler shift is accounted for, so that measured wave properties are translated into the reference frame of the mean zonal flow. We take advantage of the fact that, in the depth range where the wave signal was clearest, the time-averaged current and buoyancy frequency were nearly uniform with depth, allowing application of the classical theoretical representation of vertically propagating plane waves. Using the theory, we estimate wave properties that are not directly measured, such as the group velocity and the zonal wavelength and phase speed. The theory predicts a vertical energy flux that is comparable to that carried by midlatitude near-inertial waves. We also quantify the wave-driven meridional heat flux and the Stokes drift.
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  • Smyth, W. D., Durland, T. S., & Moum, J. N. (2015). Energy and heat fluxes due to vertically propagating Yanai waves observed in the equatorial Indian Ocean. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 120(1), 1-15. doi:10.1002/2014JC010152
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  • 120
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  • 1
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  • Funding for this project has been provided by the Office of Naval Research (N001–10-7–2098), the National Science Foundation (grants OCE1030772, OCE1129419, OCE1336752, and OCE1059055), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (grants NNX13AE46G and NNX10AO93G).
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