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Mapping near-inertial variability in the SE Bay of Biscay from HF radar data and two offshore moored buoys

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Abstract

[1] HF radar surface current data together with data from two operational offshore oceanographic buoys located over the slope are used to map the variability associated with the near-inertial waves, during a target year (2009), in the SE Bay of Biscay. The results obtained show the complex 4D distribution of inertial oscillations in this area. We find a very pronounced horizontal structure across the area with ranges of a factor 5 in near-inertial kinetic energy. This pattern presents also strong seasonal variability, with a peak in KE closer to the shelf-break in summer, whereas winter maximum is weaker and located further to the north-east. The mooring data indicate more trapping near the surface in summer. These patterns are discussed in relation to the known seasonal differences in atmospheric/buoyancy forcing and the characteristics of the sub-inertial surface velocity field.

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