Coherence of Internal Tide Modulations Along the Hawaiian Ridge

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sea level, Hawaii, North pacific, oceanography, marine science

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Long time series of sea level from tide gauges along the north side of the Hawaiian Ridge and shorter series of dynamic heights inferred from inverted echo sounders moored just north of the main Hawaiian Islands are examined for evidence of internal tides at the M-2 frequency. We find that the amplitudes and phases of the M-2 tidal components have low-frequency variability, which is consistent with a superposition of an internal tide with the larger barotropic tide. Further, the low-frequency variability is correlated with low-frequency changes in the depth of the pycnocline, which suggests a simple physical mechanism to account for the low-frequency modulations in the internal tidal amplitude. These modulations are coherent for long distances along the Hawaiian Ridge, indicating a coherent generation of the internal tide that is consistent with acoustic observations in the North Pacific and with recent analyses of sea surface heights from satellite altimetry.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Journal of Geophysical Research - Oceans, v. 105, no. C12, p. 28653-28661.