Scattering of the low-mode internal tide at the Line Islands Ridge

by Maha N. Haji

Institution: MIT and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Year: 2015
Keywords: Thomas G. Thompson (Ship) Cruise TN259; Kilo Moana (Ship) Cruise KM1102; Kilo Moana (Ship) Cruise KM1115
Record ID: 2058611
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/1912/7208


The scattering of low-mode internal tides by ocean-floor topography is extensively studied through analytical models and field observations at the Line Islands Ridge (LIR). An existing Green function method is utilized to examine the generation of internal tides by idealized topographic shapes as well as realistic transects of the LIR. The method is also applied to examine the scattering of a mode-1 internal tide at these topographies to determine the relative high mode energy flux due to generated and scattered internal tides at the realistic transects. A method of determining the modal content of an internal wave field is advanced to account for arbitrary stratification and rotation. It is then adjusted to allow for image loss as is common to oceanographic studies. Its performance is compared to the existing regression method widely used by oceanographers to determine the modal content of internal tides. The results from this comparison are used to inform the analysis of the field observations. This thesis concludes by examining the modal content of the LIR as determined from measurements taken during the 150-day EXperiment on Internal Tide Scattering (EXITS) NSF field study. Motivated by satellite altimetry data and three-dimensional numerical model studies, the EXITS cruise sought to observe the internal tide scattering process in the ocean for the first time. The data from three moorings equipped with moored profilers, spanning total depths of 3000-5000 m is analyzed to determine the modal content of the southward propagating internal tide before and after it encounters the ridge for evidence of topographic scattering.