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Sci Rep. 2018 Feb 22;8(1):3473. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-21461-3.

Nonlinear internal wave spirals in the northern East China Sea.

Author information

1
School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul, 08826, Republic of Korea.
2
Research Institute of Oceanography, Seoul National University, Seoul, 08826, Republic of Korea.
3
School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul, 08826, Republic of Korea. djkim@snu.ac.kr.

Abstract

Oceanic internal waves are known to be important to the understanding of underwater acoustics, marine biogeochemistry, submarine navigation and engineering, and the Earth's climate. In spite of the importance and increased knowledge of their ubiquity, the wave generation is still poorly understood in most parts of the world's oceans. Here, we use satellite synthetic aperture radar images, in-situ observations, and numerical models to (1) show that wave energy (having relatively high amplitude) radiates from a shallow sill in the East China Sea in all directions, but with a significant time lag dependent on background conditions, (2) reveal that wave fronts are locally formed with often favorable conditions for re-initiation, and (3) demonstrate the resulting variety of wave patterns. These findings would be the case for any broad shelf having shallow sills with time-varying conditions, and therefore have significant implications on the redistribution of energy and materials in the global as well as regional ocean.

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