Energy spectra of the ocean's internal wave field: Theory and observations

Yuri V. Lvov, Kurt L. Polzin, Esteban G. Tabak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The evidence for variability in the high-frequency, high-wave-number limit of Garrett-and-Munk (GM) spectrum of internal waves was presented. The results show that wave turbulence captures much of the variability apparent in the oceanic internal wave field, including the characterization of the spectral curve put together by Garrett and Munk as an exact solution to a kinetic equation for the evolution of the wave field. The curve of steady solutions to the kinetic equation were consistent with much of the observed variability in the energy spectra. The placement of individual observations along the curve were found to depend on the nature of the forcing, the local degree of stratification, and the variable magnitude of the Coriolis parameter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number128501
Pages (from-to)128501-1-128501-4
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number12
StatePublished - Mar 26 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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