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Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center

The Massachusetts Bay Internal Wave Experiment, August 1998: Data Report

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Figure 1, backscatter intensity and shaded relief topography of regaion east of Boston.
Figure 1.

This data report presents oceanographic observations made in Massachusetts Bay (fig. 1) in August 1998 as part of the Massachusetts Bay Internal Wave Experiment (MBIWE98). MBIWE98 was carried out to characterize large-amplitude internal waves in Massachusetts Bay and to investigate the possible resuspension and transport of bottom sediments caused by these waves. This data report presents a description of the field program and instrumentation, an overview of the data through summary plots and statistics, and the time-series data in NetCDF format. The objective of this report is to make the data available in digital form and to provide summary plots and statistics to facilitate browsing of the data set.

The existence of large-amplitude internal waves in Massachusetts Bay was first described by Halpern (1971). In summer when the water is stratified, packets of waves propagate westward into the bay on the flood (westward flowing) tide at about 0.5 m/s. The internal waves are observed in packets of 5-10 waves, have periods of 5-10 minutes and wavelengths of 200-400 m, and cause downward excursions of the thermocline of as much as 30 m. The waves are generated by interaction of the barotropic tide with Stellwagen Bank (Haury and others (1979).

Several papers present analyses and interpretations of the data collected during the MBIWE98. Grosenbaugh and others (2002) report on the results of the horizontal array, Scotti and others (2005) describe a strategy for processing observations made by Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers (ADCPs) in the presence of short-wavelength internal waves, Butman and others (in press) describe the effect of these waves on sediment transport, and Scotti and others (in press) describe the energetics of the internal waves.

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