The Impact of the Internal Tide on Data-Assimilative Model Estimates of the Surface Tide

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Ocean Modelling

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We use a synthetic data experiment to assess the accuracy of ocean tides estimated from satellite altimetry data, with emphasis on the impact of the phase-locked internal tide, which has a surface expression of several centimeters near its sites of genesis. Previous tidal estimates have regarded this signal as a random measurement error; however, it is deterministic and not scale-separated from the barotropic (surface) tide around complex bathymetric features. The synthetic data experiments show that the internal tide has a negligible impact on the barotropic tidal fields inferred under these circumstances, and the barotropic dissipation (a quadratic functional of the tidal fields) is in good agreement with the energetics of the three-dimensional regional primitive equations model which is the source of the synthetic data.


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