Significant internal waves and internal tides measured northeast of Taiwan Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Internal gravity waves in an area northeast of Taiwan are characterized using data from multiple sensor types. The data set includes intermittent information collected from a ship and short time series from moorings. Modeled nonlinear waves are fitted to observed nonlinear waves to provide self-consistent estimates of multiple wave parameters. A nonlinear internal wave of over 50 m amplitude, observed in deep water, is examined in detail. This wave was moving northward from the southern Okinawa Trough toward the continental shelf, and presumably formed from internal tides propagating northward from the Ilan Ridge area. A possible scenario for the formation of this wave from the internal tide is compared to related behavior south of Taiwan. On the outer continental shelf, a few large internal waves with maximum displacement greater than one-quarter of the water depth were measured with moorings. Sensors aboard ship and satellite recorded waves in this area traveling in many directions. Two possible causes (not mutually exclusive) for the multiple wave directions are scattering of nonlinear internal waves arriving from the south, and variable local generation of nonlinear gravity waves by the strong tidal and internal tidal currents. Internal tides on the shelf are relatively strong, among the strongest measured, having about 10 times greater kinetic energy density than numerous low-energy sites, which is consistent with the strong barotropic tides of the area. The ratio of diurnal baroclinic to barotropic kinetic energy found in this area is unusually high.

publication date

  • January 1, 2013