Abstract

We observed transient stratification and mixing events associated with nearshore internal bores in southern Monterey Bay using an array of instruments with high spatial and temporal resolution. The arrival of the bores is characterized by surging masses of dense (cold) water that tend to stratify the water column. The bore is followed by a gradual drop in the temperature throughout the water column over several hours (defined here as the bore period) until a sharp warm-front relaxation, followed by high frequency temperature fluctuations, returns the column back to nearly its original state (defined here as the mixing period). Mixing periods revealed increased temperature variance at high frequencies (ω > ), as well as a greater percentage of events where dynamic instabilities may be present (Ri< 0.25), suggesting active mixing of the stratified water column. Turbulent dissipation rates in the stratified interior during the mixing period, estimated using the technique of isopycnal slope spectra, revealed mean values the same order of magnitude as near-bed bottom-generated turbulence. Observations indicate that local shear-produced turbulent kinetic energy by the warm front relaxations dominates mixing in the stratified interior. The non-canonical nature of these bore and relaxation events is also investigated with a numerical model, and the dynamics are shown to depend on the internal Iribarren number. Our results suggest that nearshore internal bores interacting with local bathymetry dramatically alter local dynamics and mixing in the nearshore with important ecological implications.

Disciplines

Physics

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An edited version of this paper was published by AGU. Further reproduction or electronic distribution is not permitted.

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URL: http://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/phy_fac/456