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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 26 Sep 2019

Submitted as: research article | 26 Sep 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Ocean Science (OS).

Internal tides in the Solomon Sea in contrasted ENSO conditions

Michel Tchilibou1, Lionel Gourdeau1, Florent Lyard1, Rosemary Morrow1, Ariane Koch Larrouy1, Damien Allain1, and Bughsin Djath2 Michel Tchilibou et al.
  • 1Laboratoire d’Etude en Géophysique et Océanographie Spatiales (LEGOS), Université de Toulouse, CNES, CNRS, IRD, UPS, Toulouse, France
  • 2Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht Max-Planck-Strase, Geesthacht, Germany

Abstract. The Solomon Sea is a place of intense Low Latitudes Western Boundary current transiting to the equator where mesoscale activity is superimposed on internal tides. In this marginal sea, the cumulated effects of these dynamical constraints result in water mass transformation as observed by in situ observations. The objective of this paper is to document the M2 internal tides in the Solomon Sea and their impacts based on two regional simulations with and without tides. Because the Solomon Sea is under the influence of ENSO, the characteristics of the internal tides are analyzed for two contrasted ENSO conditions: the 1997–1998 El Niño and the 1999 La Niña. The generation, propagation and dissipation of the internal tides are sensitive to changes in stratification and mesoscale activity between El Niño and La Niña. Mode 1 is the dominant mode to propagate baroclinic tidal energy within the Solomon Sea, but the El Niño conditions, with stratification closer to the surface, are favorable for the propagation of mode 2. The la Niña case with a high level of mesoscale activity favors the appearance of incoherent internal tides. These results illustrate the complexity in predicting internal tides in order to access meso and submesoscale signatures from altimetric missions, including the future SWOT mission. Diapycnal mixing induced by the internal tides is efficient in eroding the salinity maximum of the upper thermocline water, and in cooling the surface temperature interacting with the atmosphere. Such effects are particularly visible far from the strong currents, where particles may experience the tidal effects during a longer time. Nevertheless, the impacts are different when considering particular ENSO conditions. The interaction of internal tides with the surface mesoscale activity reduces surface cooling during El Niño 1998, but increases surface warming during La Niña 1999, with possible impacts on regional air sea interaction.

Michel Tchilibou et al.
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Michel Tchilibou et al.
Michel Tchilibou et al.
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Short summary
This paper focuses on internal tides in the marginal Solomon Sea where LLWBCs transit. The objective is to characterise such internal tides and to give som insights on their impacts on water mass transformation in this area of interest for the global circulation. Results are discussed for two contrasted ENSO conditions with different mesoscale activity and stratification. Such study is motivated by the next altimetric SWOT mission that will be able to observe such phenomena.
This paper focuses on internal tides in the marginal Solomon Sea where LLWBCs transit. The...