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The flux of tidal energy across latitude 60°S

American Geophysical Union
Publication Date
  • Biology
  • Earth Science
  • Geography


How and where the ocean tides dissipate their energy are longstanding questions with both oceanographic and astronomical implications. Two decades ago, Doake suggested that flexing of Antarctic ice shelves by the underlying ocean tide is an important energy sink, perhaps accounting for over half the global dissipation rate. Observational constraints on Antarctic dissipation have been scarce. Here two new and complementary ocean-tide models, both derived from Topex/Poseidon satellite altimeter measurements are used to determine the flux of tidal energy across 60øS toward the Antarctic coastline. Our results show relatively small fluxes and they therefore rule out Doake's suggestion: Antarctica is an insignificant sink in the global tidal energy budget.

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