Articles | Volume 21, issue 1
Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 21, 87–100, 2014

Special issue: Nonlinear processes of Air-Sea/Land interaction: from observations...

Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 21, 87–100, 2014

Research article 10 Jan 2014

Research article | 10 Jan 2014

Tidally induced internal motion in an Arctic fjord

E. Støylen*,1 and I. Fer2 E. Støylen and I. Fer
  • 1Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
  • 2Geophysical Institute, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
  • *now at: Norwegian Meteorological Institute, Oslo, Norway

Abstract. The internal response in a stratified, partially enclosed basin subject to semi-diurnal tidal forcing through a narrow entrance is investigated. The site is located above the critical latitude where linear internal waves of lunar semi-diurnal frequency are not permitted to propagate freely. Generation and propagation of tidally induced internal Kelvin waves are studied, for baroclinically sub- and supercritical conditions at the mouth of the fjord, using a non-linear 3-D numerical model in an idealized basin and in Van Mijenfjorden, Svalbard, using a realistic topography. The model results are compared to observations of hydrography and currents made in August 2010. Results from both the model and measurements indicate the presence of internal Kelvin waves, even when conditions at the fjord entrance are supercritical. The entrance of Van Mijenfjorden is split into two sounds. Sensitivity experiments by closing each sound separately reveal that internal Kelvin waves are generated at both sounds. When the conditions are near supercritical, a wave pulse propagates inward from the fjord entrance at the beginning of each inflow phase of the tidal cycle. The leading crest is followed by a series of smaller amplitude waves characterized as non-linear internal solitons. However, higher model resolution is needed to accurately describe the influence of small-scale mixing and processes near the sill crest in establishing the evolution of the flow and internal response in the fjord.