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Observed equatorward propagation and chimney effect of near-inertial waves in the mid-latitude ocean
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  • Xiaolong Yu,
  • Alberto C. Naveira Garabato,
  • Clément Vic,
  • Jonathan Gula,
  • Anna C Savage,
  • Jinbo Wang,
  • Amy Frances Waterhouse,
  • Jennifer A MacKinnon
Xiaolong Yu
Sun Yat-sen University

Corresponding Author:xy6g13@gmail.com

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Alberto C. Naveira Garabato
University of Southampton
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Clément Vic
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Jonathan Gula
Université de Bretagne Occidentale
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Anna C Savage
University of California, San Diego
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Jinbo Wang
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology
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Amy Frances Waterhouse
University of California, San Diego
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Jennifer A MacKinnon
Scripps Institution of Oceanography
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The propagation characteristics of near-inertial waves (NIWs) and how mesoscale and submesoscale processes affect the waves’ vertical penetration (i.e., the chimney effect) are investigated using observations from a mooring array located in the northeast Atlantic. The year-long observations show that near-inertial motions are mainly generated by local wind forcing and that they radiate predominantly downward following several strong wind events. Once below the mixed layer, NIWs preferentially propagate equatorward primarily in the form of low modes. High-mode NIWs, however, are most likely dissipated locally near the base of the mixed layer. Enhanced near-inertial kinetic energy and vertical shear are found only in mesoscale anticyclones with Rossby number of O(0.1). By contrast, submesoscale motions with order one Rossby number have little effect on the trapping and vertical penetration of NIWs, due to their smaller horizontal scales and confined vertical extent compared to mesoscale eddies.