12 Jan 2024
 | 12 Jan 2024

High-frequency Internal Waves, High-mode Nonlinear Waves and K-H Billows on the South China Sea's Shelf Revealed by Marine Seismic Observation

Linghan Meng, Haibin Song, Yongxian Guan, Shun Yang, Kun Zhang, and Mengli Liu

Abstract. From July to September 2009, a set of multi-channel seismic data was collected in the northern shelf area of the South China Sea. After the data was processed, we observed a series of shoaling events on one of the survey lines, including high-frequency internal waves, high-mode nonlinear internal waves, and shear instability. Using theoretical results from previous numerical simulations and field observations, coupled with local temperature and salinity data, we analyzed their depth distribution, waveform characteristics, and formation mechanisms, and discussed the influence of seafloor topography and stratification on the shoaling of solitary internal waves. We estimated the mixing parameters of seawater using a parameterization scheme based on hydrographic data and seismic data, respectively. And we found that the diapycnal mixing caused by these shoaling events in the shelf area were about 3.5 times greater than those on the slope. Consequently, the fission of internal solitary waves and the induced shear instability serve as significant mechanisms for the energy dissipation of internal solitary waves at the slope and shelf of the South China Sea. Additionally, the high-frequency internal waves generated during shoaling might also have a crucial role in this process.

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Linghan Meng, Haibin Song, Yongxian Guan, Shun Yang, Kun Zhang, and Mengli Liu

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-92', Anonymous Referee #1, 29 Mar 2024
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-92', Anonymous Referee #2, 10 Jun 2024
  • RC3: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-92', Anonymous Referee #3, 12 Jun 2024
  • RC4: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-92', Anonymous Referee #4, 14 Jun 2024
Linghan Meng, Haibin Song, Yongxian Guan, Shun Yang, Kun Zhang, and Mengli Liu
Linghan Meng, Haibin Song, Yongxian Guan, Shun Yang, Kun Zhang, and Mengli Liu


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Short summary
In the seismic section, high-frequency and mode-2 internal waves, along with shear instability, were identified in the ocean. Strong nonlinear high-frequency waves, believed to be from shoaling, Behind them are larger mode-2 internal solitary waves. These waves show instability, notably the second mode-2 internal waves with distinct K-H billows. Seismic data revealed that diapycnal mixing from these events in the shelf area is 3.5 times greater than than that in the slope area.