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PreprintShoaling of large-amplitude nonlinear internal waves at Dongsha Atoll in the northern South China Sea( 2012-02-10) Fu, Ke-Hsien ; Wang, YuHuai ; St. Laurent, Louis C. ; Simmons, Harper L. ; Wang, WangShoaling of large-amplitude (~100 m) nonlinear internal waves over a steep slope (~3°) in water depths between 100 m and 285 m near Dongsha Atoll in the northern South China Sea is examined with an intensive array of thermistor moorings and a bottom mounted Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler. During the 44 h study period in May 5–7, 2008, there were four groups of large internal waves with semidiurnal modulation. In each wave group a rapid transition occurred during the shoaling, such that the front face of the leading depression wave elongated and plunged to the bottom and the rear face steepened and transformed into a bottom-trapped elevation wave. The transitions occur in water depths of 200 m and deeper, and represent the largest documented internal wave shoaling events. The observations repeatedly capture the detailed temperature and velocity structures of the incident plunging waves. Strong horizontal convergence and intense upward motion are found at the leading edge of transformed elevation waves, suggesting flow separation near the bottom. The observations are compared with the previous observations and model studies. The implication of the shoaling internal waves on coral reef ecology also is discussed.
ArticleTurbulent properties of internal waves in the South China Sea(The Oceanography Society, 2011-12) St. Laurent, Louis C. ; Simmons, Harper L. ; Tang, Tswen Yung ; Wang, YuHuaiLuzon Strait and South China Sea waters are among the most energetic internal wave environments in the global ocean. Strong tides and stratification in Luzon Strait give rise to internal waves that propagate west into the South China Sea. The energy carried by the waves is dissipated via turbulent processes. Here, we present and contrast the relatively few direct observations of turbulent dissipation in South China Sea internal waves. Frictional processes active in the bottom boundary layer dissipate some of the energy along China's continental shelf. It appears that more energy is lost in Taiwanese waters of the Dongsha Plateau, where the waves reach their maximum amplitudes, and where the bottom topography abruptly shoals from 3,000 m in the deep basin to 1,000 m and shallower on the plateau. There, energy dissipation by turbulence reaches 1 W m–2, on par with the conversion rates of Luzon Strait.