Reflection and Scattering of Low-Mode Internal Tides on the Continental Slope of the South China Sea

Wei Li aOcean College, Zhejiang University, Zhoushan, China
bState Key Laboratory of Satellite Ocean Environment Dynamics, Second Institute of Oceanography, Ministry of Natural Resources, Hangzhou, China

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Xiaohui Xie aOcean College, Zhejiang University, Zhoushan, China
bState Key Laboratory of Satellite Ocean Environment Dynamics, Second Institute of Oceanography, Ministry of Natural Resources, Hangzhou, China
cSouthern Marine Science and Engineering Guangdong Laboratory, Zhuhai, China
dSchool of Oceanography, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China

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Abstract

It is well known that strong low-mode internal tides generated in Luzon Strait propagate westward to impinge continental slopes in the northeastern South China Sea (SCS). The reflection and scattering of these internal tides including diurnal and semidiurnal components on the slopes are quantitatively investigated using two sets of mooring data and a linear internal tide model with realistic topography and stratification. Flux reflections computed from mooring data collected on the continental slopes are consistent with the linear model. Based on the results of the observations and simulations, a map of low-mode internal tide reflection and scattering coefficients along the continental margin in the northeastern SCS is revealed. On average, diurnal internal tides lose 38% of their energy to high modes (≥mode 4) that are assumed to dissipate on the slopes, transmit 28% onto the continental shelf, and reflect 31% back to the deep ocean. On the contrary, most of the semidiurnal energy (89%) transmits onto the continental shelf, and only 11% is scattered to high modes (7%) and reflected back to the deep ocean (4%). For diurnal internal tides, a large fraction of energy that is scattered to high modes and reflected back to the deep sea can be attributed to the critical–supercritical slopes, while the weak reflection for the semidiurnal energy is due to the subcritical slopes. These quantitative descriptions for evolutions of low-mode internal tides incident to the slopes provide an energy budget map on the continental slopes in the northeastern SCS.

© 2023 American Meteorological Society. This published article is licensed under the terms of the default AMS reuse license. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Xiaohui Xie, xhxie2013@gmail.com

Abstract

It is well known that strong low-mode internal tides generated in Luzon Strait propagate westward to impinge continental slopes in the northeastern South China Sea (SCS). The reflection and scattering of these internal tides including diurnal and semidiurnal components on the slopes are quantitatively investigated using two sets of mooring data and a linear internal tide model with realistic topography and stratification. Flux reflections computed from mooring data collected on the continental slopes are consistent with the linear model. Based on the results of the observations and simulations, a map of low-mode internal tide reflection and scattering coefficients along the continental margin in the northeastern SCS is revealed. On average, diurnal internal tides lose 38% of their energy to high modes (≥mode 4) that are assumed to dissipate on the slopes, transmit 28% onto the continental shelf, and reflect 31% back to the deep ocean. On the contrary, most of the semidiurnal energy (89%) transmits onto the continental shelf, and only 11% is scattered to high modes (7%) and reflected back to the deep ocean (4%). For diurnal internal tides, a large fraction of energy that is scattered to high modes and reflected back to the deep sea can be attributed to the critical–supercritical slopes, while the weak reflection for the semidiurnal energy is due to the subcritical slopes. These quantitative descriptions for evolutions of low-mode internal tides incident to the slopes provide an energy budget map on the continental slopes in the northeastern SCS.

© 2023 American Meteorological Society. This published article is licensed under the terms of the default AMS reuse license. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Xiaohui Xie, xhxie2013@gmail.com
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