Semidiurnal internal tides in a Patagonian fjord

Ross, L; Perez-Santos, I; Valle–Levinson, A.; Schneider, W


The fjords of central Chilean Patagonia (47 degrees S) receive fresh water from both precipitation and the Baker River. This buoyancy input generates a two layer hydrographic system characterized by strong salinity stratification (similar to 30 g kg(-1) over a depth range of 7-15 m), which favors baroclinic conditions in the fjord. Hourly current velocity profiles were collected with an acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP) moored at a depth of 40 m during March-April 2009, and complemented by 11 CTD profiles and hourly sea level time series. These data allowed the detection of semidiurnal internal tidal waves for the first time in this region. Wavelength and horizontal phase speeds were determined by the dynamical mode 1 for internal waves. Maximum wavelength was 52 km, travelling at a horizontal phase speed of similar to 1.16 m s(-1). Wavelet, spectral and empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis techniques applied to the echo anomaly signal and to the baroclinic velocity showed largest semidiumal amplitudes near the pycnocline. Out of three modes obtained from the EOF analysis, two modes displayed a two- or three-layer flow structure with flow direction reversing at the pycnocline. The semidiurnal internal waves were found as fluctuations near the pycnocline in sporadic packets correlated to high discharge pulses of the Baker River (r(2) = 0.77). Additionally, internal Froude number calculations at the mouth of the Baker River indicated critical flow conditions, which allowed for generation of internal waves at the plume front. These waves are separated from the river plume after internal wave phase speeds surpassed frontal speeds. This suggests that the internal waves were modulated by pulses in high river discharge rather than the interaction of barotropic tide with bathymetry (a sill). An implication of these internal waves would be to increase vertical mixing of nutrients toward the surface, through shear instabilities, which would favor primary production. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Título según WOS: Semidiurnal internal tides in a Patagonian fjord
Volumen: 129
Fecha de publicación: 2014
Página de inicio: 19
Página final: 34
Idioma: English


Notas: ISI