Large-Amplitude Internal Waves in the South China Sea
NAVAL RESEARCH LAB WASHINGTON DC
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One of the most spectacular phenomena recently discovered in the South China Sea is that of very large internal waves. Field observations and satellite images show that these internal waves are over 200 meters in amplitude and their crests extend more than 200 km. These fast, transient, large-amplitude internal waves can push water up or down 200 meters in 10 minutes and seriously impact the safe operation of submerged vessels, particularly the less powerful unmanned undersea vessels, or UUVs. The large-amplitude internal waves can also have a strong effect on underwater sound propagation as reported by the Office of Naval Research ONR Asian Seas International Acoustics Experiment. Several NRL scientists from the Acoustics and Oceanography Divisions participated in this experiment. In 2005, ONR launched the Nonlinear Internal Waves Initiative NLIWI to better understand the large-amplitude internal waves in the South China Sea. NRL teamed with university scientists to participate in the NLIWI to conduct internal wave studies using computer ocean models and observations.
- Physical and Dynamic Oceanography