Large amplitude, leaky, island-generated, internal waves around Palau, Micronesia

Wolanski, E., Colin, P., Naithani, J., Deleersnijder, E., and Golbuu, Y. (2004) Large amplitude, leaky, island-generated, internal waves around Palau, Micronesia. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science , 60 (4). pp. 705-716.

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Three years of temperature data along two transects extending to 90 m depth, at Palau, Micronesia, show twice-a-day thermocline vertical displacements of commonly 50–100 m, and on one occasion 270 m. The internal wave occurred at a number of frequencies. There were a number of spectral peaks at diurnal and semi-diurnal frequencies, as well as intermediate and sub-inertial frequencies, less so at the inertial frequency. At Palau the waves generally did not travel around the island because there was no coherence between internal waves on either side of the island. The internal waves at a site 30 km offshore were out-of-phase with those on the island slopes, suggesting that the waves were generated on the island slope and then radiated away. Palau Island was thus a source of internal wave energy for the surrounding ocean. A numerical model suggests that the tidal and low-frequency currents flowing around the island form internal waves with maximum wave amplitude on the island slope and that these waves radiate away from the island. The model also suggests that the headland at the southern tip of Palau prevents the internal waves to rotate around the island. The large temperature fluctuations (commonly daily fluctuations ≈10 °C, peaking at 20 °C) appear responsible for generating a thermal stress responsible for a biologically depauperate biological community on the island slopes at depths between 60 and 120 m depth.

Item ID: 4730
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1096-0015
Keywords: internal waves; oceanic islands; coral reefs; Micronesia
Date Deposited: 07 Jul 2009 01:10
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