IDEMIX: a model of internal gravity wave energetics and diapycnal mixing (solicited)

Dirk.Olbers [ at ]


Breaking of internal gravity waves is a major source of diapycnal mixing, driving the large-scale circulation. An energetically consistent model of the diapycnal diffusivity requires a closed model of the wave energetics, including generation, non-linear transfer and dissipation. IDEMIX meets this requirement by heavy truncation of the radiation balance equation: the energetics are formulated for a small number of compartments as integrals over respective parts of the spectral wavenumber space. The current version has compartments for up- and downward propagating waves in the frequency-wavenumber continuum and low-mode near-inertial and tidal waves. Forcing occurs by radiation of wind-driven near-inertial waves from the surface mixed layer and barotropic to baroclinic conversion of tidal energy at submarine topography. The compartments are coupled by wave-wave interactions and bottom scattering. Energy transferred by wave-wave interactions to high wavenumbers is dissipated and partly used for mixing. The model is working in physical space - the global ocean - with wave propagation by mean group velocities. IDEMIX has been studied as stand-alone module (using a Brunt-Väisälä frequency climatology and the Osborn-Cox relation to infer diapycnal diffusivities) and in a coupled mode in a global OGCM. The inferred diapycnal diffusivities have a reasonable size and plausible spatial pattern. We report on new developments in IDEMIX as the incorporation of topographic lee-waves and wave-mean flow interaction.

Item Type
Conference (Invited talk)
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Peer revision
Not peer-reviewed
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Event Details
EGU General Assembly, 14 Apr 2015 - 01 Jan 1970, OS5.1/AS4.3.
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Cite as
Olbers, D. and Eden, C. (2015): IDEMIX: a model of internal gravity wave energetics and diapycnal mixing (solicited) , EGU General Assembly, OS5.1/AS4.3, 14 April 2015 - unspecified .


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