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Free Content Significant internal waves and internal tides measured northeast of Taiwan

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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.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2013

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  • The Journal of Marine Research, one of the oldest journals in American marine science, publishes peer-reviewed research articles covering a broad array of topics in physical, biological and chemical oceanography. Articles that deal with processes, as well as those that report significant observations, are welcome. Biological studies involving coupling between ecological and physical processes are preferred over those that report systematics. The editors strive always to serve authors and readers in the academic oceanographic community by publishing papers vital to the marine research in the long and rich tradition of the Sears Foundation for Marine Research. We welcome you to the Journal of Marine Research.
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