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Energy and action flow through the internal wave field: An eikonal approach


  • Frank S. Henyey,

  • Jon Wright,

  • Stanley M. Flatté


The energy and action flow through the small-scale part of the oceanic internal wave field is modeled by use of the eikonal technique, which is not subject to a weak interaction assumption. Both Monte Carlo calculations and a simplified model are presented and found to agree. It is found that the action flows toward slightly higher frequency (and thus the waves gain energy), in striking contrast to weak interaction predictions of a strong frequency decrease. The energy dissipation scales with depth as N2 cosh−1 (N/f), in agreement with measurements. The overall level is, however, a factor of 4 smaller than measurements. Possible sources of this discrepancy are discussed. A comparison is made with previous theoretical approaches for the depth dependence of dissipation.