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Antarctic Circumpolar Current impacts on internal wave life cycles


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Waterman, S, Meyer, A ORCID: 0000-0003-0447-795X, Polzin, KL, Naveira Garabato, AC and Sheen, KL 2021 , 'Antarctic Circumpolar Current impacts on internal wave life cycles' , Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 48, no. 8 , pp. 1-11 , doi: 10.1029/2020GL089471.

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Major gaps exist in our understanding of the pathways between internal wave generation and breaking in the Southern Ocean, with important implications for the distribution of internal wave‐driven mixing, the sensitivity of ocean mixing rates and patterns to changes in the ocean environment, and the necessary ingredients of mixing parameterizations. Here we assess the dominant processes in internal wave evolution by characterizing wave and mesoscale flow scales based on full‐depth in situ measurements in a Southern Ocean mixing hot spot and a ray tracing calculation. The exercise highlights the importance of Antarctic Circumpolar Current jets as a dominant influence on internal wave life cycles through advection, the modification of wave characteristics via wave‐mean flow interactions, and the set‐up of critical layers for both upward‐ and downward‐propagating waves. Our findings suggest that it is important to represent mesoscale flow impacts in parameterizations of internal wave‐driven mixing in the Southern Ocean.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Waterman, S and Meyer, A and Polzin, KL and Naveira Garabato, AC and Sheen, KL
Keywords: internal waves, Southern Ocean, mesoscale, ray tracing, parameterization, wavefield, ocean circulation, ocean mixing, Antarctic Circumpolar Current
Journal or Publication Title: Geophysical Research Letters
Publisher: Amer Geophysical Union
ISSN: 0094-8276
DOI / ID Number: 10.1029/2020GL089471
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An edited version of this paper was published by AGU. Copyright 2021 American Geophysical Union. To view the published open abstract, go to

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