Gyroscopic waves in the Mediterranean Sea

Type Article
Date 2005-12
Language English
Author(s) Van Haren H1, Millot C2
Affiliation(s) 1 : Netherlands Inst Sea Res, NL-1790 AB Den Burg, Netherlands.
2 : IFREMER, LOB COM CNRS, F-83507 La Seyne Sur Mer, France.
Source Geophysical Research Letters (0094-8276) (Amer Geophysical Union), 2005-12 , Vol. 32 , N. 24 , P. -
DOI 10.1029/2005GL023915
WOS© Times Cited 31
Abstract In the ocean outside areas of dense-water formation, coherent vertical motions (w) are generally much weaker (similar to 10(-3)) than horizontal (u, v) ones. According to theoretical models based upon "the traditional approximation", i.e. where the horizontal component of the Coriolis force is neglected, describing inertio-gravity waves in the ocean interior, this holds especially for motions at the inertial frequency f: w(f) < O(10(-2)(u(f), v(f))). We present observations of significant w(f), with mean values of 10(-1)(u(f), v(f)) and occasional values of 1(u(f), v(f)), from the deep Western Mediterranean Sea characterized by very small buoyancy frequency N = 0 +/- 0.4f. Our observations also present evidence of vertical propagation of internal waves, originated in the near-surface density stratified layers, through homogeneous layers below. The observations could be interpreted only within the framework of "non-traditional approach" with the horizontal component of the Coriolis force fully taken into account.
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