The lifecycle of surface-generated near-inertial waves

Leif Thomas (Lead Author), Xiaoming Zhai

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Our current knowledge of the lifecycle of the most energetic surface-generated internal waves in the ocean, wind-driven near-inertial waves (NIWs), is reviewed. The review covers the three stages in a NIW's lifecycle: formation as near-inertial motions in the mixed layer by the winds, propagation into the ocean interior as a NIW, and demise through turbulent dissipation and mixing, wave-wave interactions, and/or absorption into mean flows. A main goal of the review is to provide an update of our understanding of the processes that influence the wind-work on near-inertial motions, and those that govern the interactions of NIWs with mesoscale eddies and fronts. The impacts of NIWs on ocean mixing, both in the vertical and horizontal, are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOcean Mixing - Drivers, Mechanisms and Impacts
EditorsMichael Meredith, Alberto Garabato
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)9780128215128
Publication statusPublished - 17 Sep 2021


  • Internal waves
  • Near-inertial waves
  • Ocean mixing
  • Wave-mean flow interactions
  • Wind work

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