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Interactions Between Internal Tidal Bores and Submesoscale Currents on the Continental Shelf
  • Daniel Patrick Dauhajre,
  • James C. McWilliams,
  • Delphine Hypolite
Daniel Patrick Dauhajre
University of California, Los Angeles

Corresponding Author:ddauhajre@atmos.ucla.edu

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James C. McWilliams
University of California Los Angeles
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Delphine Hypolite
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Realistic simulations of Central California reveal interactions between shoaling internal tidal bores and submesoscale currents on the inner-shelf (30-60 m depth). These interactions comprise collisions between internal tidal upwelling, ‘forward’ bores (FBs) with submesoscale currents (SMCs) in the form of surface layer density fronts or filaments with downwelling secondary circulation. Along-shore oriented FBs collide with both cross-shore (perpendicular interaction) or along-shore (parallel interaction) oriented SMCs. In perpendicular interaction, FBs colliding into cross-shore oriented SMCs refract around the offshore tip of the downwelling front or filament. SMCs generally survive perpendicular interaction, despite partial disruption of downwelling secondary circulation by FBs. An example of parallel interaction demonstrates (1) blocking of FB propagation by elevated mixing and dense filament formation on the inner-shelf and (2) the subsequent destruction of the dense filament coincident with a decrease in vertical mixing and FB propagation underneath it. For both perpendicular and parallel interaction, FB propagation is modulated by a varying medium introduced by SMC density and current structure. The computational evidence of these interactions corroborates recent observations of interactions between small-scale, nearshore currents in the real ocean. This study motivates further exploration of interactions between fronts, filaments, internal tidal bores, and vortices in the nearshore.