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Mendocino Escarpment Near-Inertial Waves

Near-inertial waves and internal tides are the most energetic two flavors of internal waves.  Which one is more energetic?  Which matters more for mixing?  How does the answer depend on depth?

On our way to the Monterey Canyon experiment, we examined these issues by deploying a "mooring of opportunity" for 2 months consisting of two stacked McLane profilers and a long-range ADCP.  Together, these delivered velocity and shear over the whole water column, and isopycnal displacement and dissipation rate (from overturns over the bottom two thirds.

Mendocino Escarpment (right, gray) is a sharp undersea ridge and cliff.  The mooring was placed just south of it, such that near-inertial energy coming from higher latitudes (which should propagate along "characteristics", light gray line) would be expected to be unable to reach the deeper parts of the mooring. By similar arguments, internal energy should be enhanced along its own characteristics (light back lines).