An extreme internal solitary wave event observed in the northern South China Sea
Title: An extreme internal solitary wave event observed in the northern South China Sea
Journal: Scientific Reports, 6, 30041
Authors: HUANG X. -D., Z. -H. Chen, W. Zhao*, Z. -W. Zhang, C. Zhou, Q. -X. Yang, and J. -W. Tian
Abstract:With characteristics of large amplitude and strong current, internal solitary wave (ISW) is a major hazard to marine engineering and submarine navigation; it also has significant impacts on marine ecosystems and fishery activity. Among the world oceans, ISWs are particular active in the northern South China Sea (SCS). In this spirit, the SCS Internal Wave Experiment has been conducted since March 2010 using subsurface mooring array. Here, we report an extreme ISW captured on 4 December 2013 with a maximum amplitude of 240 m and a peak westward current velocity of 2.55 m/s. To the authors’ best knowledge, this is the strongest ISW of the world oceans on record. Full-depth measurements also revealed notable impacts of the extreme ISW on deep-ocean currents and thermal structures. Concurrent mooring measurements near Batan Island showed that the powerful semidiurnal internal tide generation in the Luzon Strait was likely responsible for the occurrence of the extreme ISW event. Based on the HYCOM data-assimilation product, we speculate that the strong stratification around Batan Island related to the strengthening Kuroshio may have contributed to the formation of the extreme ISW.