Internal wave generation by tidal flow over periodically and randomly distributed seamounts

Author :Likun Zhang, Maarten C. Buijsman, Eva Comino, and Harry L. Swinney
Publisher :Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Year :2017
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DOI: : 10.1002/2017JC012884


We examine numerically the conversion of barotropic tidal energy into internal waves by flow over an isolated seamount and over systems of periodically and randomly distributed 1100 m tall seamounts with Gaussian profiles. The simulations use the Massachusetts Institute of Technology general circulation model (MITgcm) to calculate for an infinitely deep ocean the dependence of the energy conversion on seamount slope, seamount separation, tidal direction, and the size and aspect ratio of the simulation domain. {For neighboring seamounts with a slope greater than the internal wave beam slope, wave interference reduces} the conversion relative to that calculated for an isolated seamount, and relative to that predicted by linear theory for a seamount of slope less than the beam slope. The conversion by an individual seamount in a system of random seamounts separated by an average distance of 18 km is found to be suppressed by 16% relative to the conversion by an isolated seamount. This study provides insight into tidal conversion by ocean seamounts modeled as Gaussian mountains with slopes both smaller and larger than the beam slope. We conclude that the total energy conversion by all seamounts (peak height???1000 m) and knolls (peak height 500-1000 m), taking into account interference affects, is of the order of 1% of the total barotropic to baroclinic energy conversion in the oceans, which is about twice as large as previous estimates.