Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union

Internal gravity waves and mixing



Oceanic internal gravity waves span a range between mesoscale eddies and smallscale turbulence, providing an important link in the overall energy cascade from the large scales of generation to the small scales of dissipation. Progress in the understanding of internal-wave dynamics was discussed at the sixth ‘Aha Huliko'a Hawaiian Winter Workshop, held January 15–18, 1991, in Honolulu. The workshop brought together oceanographers and meteorologists, who came to the following conclusions on the topic. Considerable progress is being made in predicting the diapycnal mixing rates associated with the shear instability of small-scale internal waves (Figure 1). Large-scale internal waves are forced by the atmosphere and (possibly) other oceanic flows. These waves are the most energetic and can propagate over distances of O(1000 km).