Research Spotlight: Observing nonlinear internal waves over New Jersey's continental shelf



[1] Nonlinear internal waves, which occur below the ocean's surface, can influence coastal environments, for instance, through increased turbulent mixing that affects fluxes of nutrients and heat.The details of how these waves are generated are not well understood. Shroyer et al. used ship and mooring data collected off the coast of New Jersey during August 2006 to describe the nonlinear internal wavefield and background oceanographic conditions. They found that during most of that month, nonlinear internal wave packets occurred irregularly and had displacements of about 8 meters, but during 17–21 August the nonlinear internal waves were more closely phased with the surface tide and were almost twice as large, with displacements around 15 meters, despite being coincident with the neap tide. The study provides significant new details on the evolution and variability of nonlinear internal waves. (Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans, doi:10.1029/2010JC006332, 2011)