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  1. Abstract

    Horizontal distribution of the vertically integrated barotropic‐to‐baroclinic energy conversion has been widely studied to examine the generation of internal tides at steep topography. The vertical structure of the energy conversion that provides insights into the associated dynamics, however, is masked by the often used depth‐integrated approach. Here, we reveal the vertical profile of barotropic‐to‐baroclinic energy conversion by employing an idealized ocean model in a slope‐shelf context forced byM2barotropic tidal flow. The model shows two vertically separated hotspots of energy conversion, one near the sloping bottom and the other at the thermocline, resulting from the stronger vertical velocity and enhancement of the density perturbation, respectively. Isolation of the hotspots demonstrates that baroclinic energy generated in the bottom layer radiates toward onshore and offshore primarily in the form of internal wave beams, whereas that generated at the thermocline propagates away in the form of internal wave modes. Although energy converted at the thermocline contributes to only a small portion of the total energy conversion, it plays an important role in onshore baroclinic energy radiation and can be significantly affected by the internal wave activity at the bottom layer. With a fixed bottom topography, the percentage of baroclinic energy generated at the thermocline is linearly related to a body force exerted by the barotropic tidal flow over topography that can be estimated analytically. This provides a convenient way to estimate the overall barotropic‐to‐baroclinic energy conversion over a continental slope in the real ocean by measuring the energy conversion in the thermocline only.

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  2. Abstract

    The Southern Ocean is chronically undersampled due to its remoteness, harsh environment, and sea ice cover. Ocean circulation models yield significant insight into key processes and to some extent obviate the dearth of data; however, they often underestimate surface mixed layer depth (MLD), with consequences for surface water‐column temperature, salinity, and nutrient concentration. In this study, a coupled circulation and sea ice model was implemented for the region adjacent to the West Antarctic Peninsula, a climatically sensitive region which has exhibited decadal trends towards higher ocean temperature, shorter sea ice season, and increasing glacial freshwater input, overlain by strong interannual variability. Hindcast simulations were conducted with different air‐ice drag coefficients and Langmuir circulation parameterizations to determine the impact of these factors on MLD. Including Langmuir circulation deepened the surface mixed layer, with the deepening being more pronounced in the shelf and slope regions. Optimal selection of an air‐ice drag coefficient also increased modeled MLD by similar amounts and had a larger impact in improving the reliability of the simulated MLD interannual variability. This study highlights the importance of sea ice volume and redistribution to correctly reproduce the physics of the underlying ocean, and the potential of appropriately parameterizing Langmuir circulation to help correct for biases towards shallow MLD in the Southern Ocean. The model also reproduces observed freshwater patterns in the West Antarctic Peninsula during late summer and suggests that areas of intense summertime sea ice melt can still show net annual freezing due to high sea ice formation during the winter.

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