Shifting momentum balance and frictional adjustment observed over the inner-shelf during a storm
Rights accessOpen Access
We investigate the rapidly changing equilibrium between the momentum sources and sinks during the passage of a two-peak storm over the Catalan inner-shelf (NW Mediterranean Sea). Velocity measurements at 24 m water depth are taken as representative of the inner shelf, and the cross-shelf variability is explored with additional measurements at 50 m water depth. At 24 m, as the storm-related wind stress accelerated the flow, velocity increased throughout the water column, resulting in bottom stress starting to become important. The sea level also responded, with the pressure gradient force opposing the wind stress. In particular, during the second wind pulse, there were rapid oscillations in the acceleration and advective terms, apparently reflecting the incapacity of the bottom stress to dissipate the high kinetic energy of the system. The Coriolis and wave induced terms (via radiation stresses) were less important in the momentum balance. The frictional adjustment time scale was around 10 h, consistent with the e-folding time obtained from bottom drag parameterizations. Estimates of the frictional time and Ekman depth confirm the prevailing frictional response at 24 m. The momentum evolution in deeper parts of the shelf (50 m) showed an increase in the Coriolis force at the expense of the frictional term, typical in the transition from the inner to the mid-shelf.
CitationGrifoll, M., Aretxabaleta, A., Pelegrí, J., Espino, M. Shifting momentum balance and frictional adjustment observed over the inner-shelf during a storm. "Ocean science discussions", Maig 2015, vol. 12, p. 897-924.