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Wave Dynamics

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IN QINGDAO OFFSHORE AREA OF THE YELLOW SEA ~

WANG Tao (~E ~j~)

( California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA )

GAO T i a n - f u ( ~ i ~ )

( Institute of Acoastics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100080, China )

Abstract

Densely-sampledthermistor chain data obtained from a shallow-water acoustics experiment in the Yellow Sea off the coast of Qingdao were analyzed to examine the statistical properties of the

6 to 520 cpd frequency band internal waves observed. The negative skewness coefficients and the greaterthan-3 kurtosis coefficients indicated non-Gaussianity of the internal waves. The probability distributions

were negatively skewed and abnormally high peaks. Nonlinear properties, as exemplified by the asymmetric waveshapes of the internal waves in the offshore area are described quantitatively.

Key words: shallow-water internal wave, skewness, kurtosis, non-Gaussianity, nonlinearity

INTRODUCTION

Observations revealed the widespread distribution of internal waves on the continental shelf.

Much theoretical, numerical, laboratory and field work had been done on their generation and propagation. Significant progress has been achieved in shelf internal soliton research. However, statistical properties of internal waves, especially in shallow water, were still little understood (Wang and

Gao, 2001; Xu, 1999).

Are internal waves Ganssian? IWEX temperature, displacement and current data showed that in

deep ocean, these waves were mainly Gaussian but sporadically non-Ganssian. The depth and location dependence of this conclusion is not known (Briseoe, 1977). Statistics of high-frequency internal wave signals with periods of less than 300 s were analyzed to examine the correspondence between turbulent mixing and internal waves in the equatorial Pacific, where the skewness of the horizontal temperature gradient was significantly different from zero, and was positive in the depth above

40 m. The day to night variability of the signals was illustrated by the change in rms values of isotherm displacements and their distributions (Moum et a l . , 1992). A long-term prediction of intense

internal waves with amplitudes larger than 5 m was observed in the tropical region of the Atlantic using echo sounder measurements, showing that the wave repetition frequency could be described by

the Poisson law for extreme events (Ivanov et a l . , 1993).

Recent studies addressing the statistics of shallow-water internal waves showed that the continental slope to the south of the Celtic Sea is an area of intense and complicated internal wave activity. To study the propagation of these waves, distributions of time intervals between their occurrence,

tidal phases at which they were observed, and their propagation directions, were analysed. Moreover, the mean fluctuation speed and skewness of temperature signals showed the different characteristies of wave packets arriving from different generation regions ( Holt and Thorpe, 1997). Temperature time series were measured from an array of miniloggers in a line at constant depth along the sl* Project No. 19804013supportedby the NSFC.

No. 1

17

oping boundary of Lake Geneva southeast of Ouchy. Distributions of temperature time derivatives

were found to have a small negative skewness, which is consistent with the internal wave dynamics

in the surf zone (Thorpe and Lemmin, 1999).

This work is aimed at investigating the second-, third- and fourth-order moments and probability distributions of internal waves in shallow water, and applying the data obtained to describe statistically their nonlinear properties. Results of a study on internal waves in a strong seasonal thermocline of the Yellow Sea are presented and analyzed.

DEFINITIONS

Consider a sample function 7/(t) from an ergodic random process. Here, r/( t ) is the time

history of internal wave elevations. The rth moments/z r of 7?( t ) are defined by

,Ur =

(1)

where P(71) is the probability density function, and ~ is the mean value

= f i ~ ' I P ( ' j ) d'l

(2)

Assume r / ( t ) takes on discrete values ~1, r]2, " " , r/N, then

1

/~, = ~ , , ~ ( ' ] , -

(3)

where

= N,=,

215

20

The first moment is zero for any random process; the second moment is the variance a 2 ( a ,

standard deviation) ; the third moment, which is a

measure of the asymmetry of the wave shape about

the horizontal axis, is called the skewness; and

the fourth moment, which gives an indication of

the peakedness of the statistical distribution, is

called the kurtosis. The coefficients of skewness

and kurtosis are

10

(4)

23

25

,u3

3,2,

~L~2

~4

,u42

/'/2

(5)

30

t

i

1'8 20

22

Temperature (~

acoustics experiments in the Qingdao offshore area

of the Yellow Sea since 1979. High-quality interFig. 1 Mean temperature profile (August 23 14:50 nal wave data were gathered August 1992 from a

August 25 16:39, 1992)

thermistor chain with 32 channels spaced O. 4 m

apart. The sampling time interval was 6 . 4 s, and the length 49 h 49 rain. In the water of 33 m

depth, a mean well-mixed surface layer extended to 9 . 5 m, the temperature then dropped from

26~ to 16~ at a depth of 16.5 m, and dropped slowly to about 15~ at the seabed ( F i g . l ) . A

maximum Brunt-Vais~il~l frequency of about 930 cpd (period 1.55 rain) was supported. The chain

spanned the water column from 6 . 3 m to 18.7 m where the strong seasonal thermocline occurred

14

I'6

24

26

28

18

Vol.20

(Wang et a l . , 1999; 2000). The temperature signals of every channel were grouped and averaged over

13 data points. The number of data points N of every channel totalled 2155, and the Nyquist frequency

was 520 cpd. This averaging removes the fluctuations in thermistor depth due to surface gravity waves and

ship motions, while still keeping the high-frequency information in the signal. The obtained ten-g~erature

time series was then linearly interpolated, from the top channel to the bottom one, to find the depth time

series for a given temperature T, that is the isotherm in the time-depth coordinate system.

The isotherms contained motions in three distinct frequency bands, the synoptic band including

synoptic weather pattern and inertial waves, the tidal band including diurnal and semidiurnal tides,

and the high-frequency band containing internal waves. The low-frequency component was of interest

in a previous paper by Wang et al. (2000) ; the present investigation was concentrated on the highfrequency wave component. A highpass Butterworth filter was first used to remove the meari depth

of every isotherm after which, > 6 cpd motions were then removed from the tidal and synoptic

bands ; and the possible effects of surface tide on temperature variations were removed as well (Apel

et a l . , 1997; Pringle, 1999). In coastal regions away from fjords and estuaries, variations in sea

water density are determined mainly by temperature, so the effect of salinity can be neglected

(Zhao, 1992). Therefore, the resulting isotherms were regarded as elevations of the internal waves

(Saggio and Imberger, 1998; Small et a l . , 1999). It should be pointed out that the vertical axis of

Fig. 1, extending downwards, represents the depth from the still water surface. To be consistent

with traditional definitions, the upward internal wave displacements from their mean levels were taken as positive and vice versa. Vertical displacements of the highpass-filtered 25.0 - 17.5 ~C isotherms with wave heights of up to 5 m are shown in Fig. 2.

4^

~2

113

15

20

25

Time (h)

30

35

40

45

The curves were sequentially offset by 2 . 5 m

STATISTICS

The standard deviation, and skewness and kurtosis coefficients of each isotherm are given in

No. I

19

Table 1. The mean depth of the isotherm before the highpass filtering is shown in the table as well.

The internal wave elevation may be regarded as a combination of a static or time-invariant component and a dynamic or fluctuating component. The static component is described by the mean value 7/, and the dynamic component by the standard deviation 6. The increase of ~ was 3.21 m when

T decreased from 25.0~ to 17.5~

The mean gradient was - 0 . 4 3 m/~

The standard deviations of the 25.0~ - 17.5~ isotherms ranged from 0 . 4 3 m to 0 . 5 8 m, indicating that the wave

energy did not vary greatly with depth.

Although standard deviations of different isotherms varied little, the skewness coefficients varied significantly from - 0 . 0 6 to - 0 . 5 0 . It can be explained that the wave energy was not uniformly

distributed along time and concentrated on the large-amplitude waves between 3 h and 8 h and those

between 28 h and 33 h. Their vertically asymmetric waveforms determined mainly the skewness value of the corresponding isotherm (Fig. 2 ) . The negative skewness values suggested that the crest

(with positive displacement) heights of the internal waves were less than their trough (with negative

displacement) depths, that is to say, the troughs were sharp and deep whereas the crests were rather

low and broad.

Furthermore, the non-zero skewness values indicated that the internal waves in the Qingdao offshore area were non-Gaussian, since a Gaussian (normal) random process has ~3 = 0. The linear

theory of random sea internal waves was based on the superposition of infinitesimal amplitude wave

components with uniformly and randomly distributed phase angles. However, if the process is nonlinear, some of the phase angles are not independent, but have a fixed relationship to each other.

The internal wave components become coupled to each other and nonlinear components are present as

indicated by the skewed waveshapes.

Table 1 Statistics of internal waves in Qingdao offshore area of the Yellow Sea

T( oC )

~(m)

a(m)

3,3

X4

25.0

11.84

0.46

- 0.36

4.12

24.5

12.11

0.45

- 0.37

4.33

24.0

12.33

0.44

- 0.25

4.27

23.5

12.51

0.43

-0.25

4.44

23.0

12.68

0.44

- 0.30

4.55

22.5

12.82

0.44

- 0.34

4.66

22.0

12.95

0.45

- 0.39

4.83

21.5

13.07

0.45

- 0.44

5.0l

21.0

13.19

0.46

- 0.46

5.05

20.5

13.30

0.46

- 0.48

5.0l

20.0

13.43

0.47

- 0.50

4.92

19.5

13.56

0.48

- 0.50

4.85

19.0

13.72

0.50

- 0.46

4.71

18.5

13.91

0.52

- 0.38

4.78

18.0

14.24

0.58

- 0.25

5.29

17.5

15.05

0.54

- 0.06

3.24

The kurtosis coefficients of the internal waves ranged from 3.24 to 5 . 2 9 , greater than the norreal value 3, and was another indication of the non-Gaussianity of the waves. It is expected that the

statistical distributions of the internal waves have higher than normal peaks.

20

Vol.20

PROBABILITY DISTRIBUTIONS

The probability distributions of the isotherm displacements, normalized with respect to z, are

compared with the corresponding Gaussian distributions in Fig. 3.

~

~

245~

04

02

0

0 6(

24 O~

02

0406f

~

~

02

O

0.6

"

04 /

0

-4

220 C

-2

-4

-2

-4

-2

175~

4 -4

-2

q/a

Fig. 3 Comparisonbetween internal wave (histogram) and normal (solid fine) distributions

It is seen that these internal wave displacement distributions were all negatively skewed. The

distribution of the 17.5 ~ isotherm is slightly deviated from the normal, and the deviations become

significant for the 20.0% and 19.5% isotherms. Moreover, peaks of the wave displacement distribuhons are higher than those of the normal. The 17.5~ isotherm has the lowest peak of distribution, while the 18.0% isotherm has the highest peak and a long tail in the side "tl/a < 0 in compensation. The results were consistent with those from analysis of the internal wave statistics.

DISCUSSIONS

The statistics and probability distributions of internal waves in the Qingdao offshore area of the

Yellow Sea are presented and analyzed. Our finding that the skewness coefficients were non-zero and

that the kurtosis coefficients were greater than 3, indicated skewed waveshapes and non-Gaussian

distributions of the internal wave elevations.

Statistics had been widely used to describe nonbreaking shoaling seasurface waves (Liu et a l . ,

1998). It is suggested that the present study on internal gravity waves could be extended to construct

nonlinear models for shallow-water internal waves.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The authors are grateful to Professor Theodore Y. Wu (California Institute of Technology) and

Professor LI Jiachun (Institute of Mechanics, CAS) for interesting discussions and assistance in the

No. 1

21

References

Apel, J. R . , Badiey, M . , Chiu, C. S . , 1997. An overview of the 1995 SWAM shallow-water internal wave acoustic scattering experiment. IEEE J. Oceanic Eng. 22(3) : 465 - 500.

Briscoe, M. ( , . , 1977. Gaussianity of internal waves. J. Geophys. Res. 82(15) : 2117 - 2126.

Holt, J. T . , Thorpe, S. A . , 1997. The propagation of high frequency internal waves in the Cehic Sea. Deep-Sea

Res. 44(12) : 2087 - 2116.

Ivanov, V. A . , Pelinovsky, E. N . , Talipova, T. G . , 1993. The long-time prediction of intense internal wave

heights in the tropical region of the Atlantic. J. Phys. Oceanogr. 23(9) : 2136 - 2142.

Liu, X. A . , IInang, P. J. , Chen, X. Y. et a l . , 1998. A nonlinear model for nonbreaking shoaling random waves. Acta Oceanologica Sinica 20(3) : 12 - 18 (in Chinese).

Moum, J. N . , Hebert, D . , Paulson, C. A. et a l . , 1992. Turbulence and internal wave at the Equator. Part I:

Statistics from towed thermistors and a microstrueture profiler. J. Phys. Oceanogr. 22( 11 ): 1 3 3 0 - 1345.

Pringle, J. M . , 1999. Observation of high-frequency internal waves in the coastal ocean dynamics region. J . Geophys. Res. 104(C3) : 5263 - 5281.

Saggio, A. , hnberger, J. , 1998. Internal wave weather in a stratified lake. Limnol. Ocearu,gr. 4 3 ( 8 ) : 1780 1795.

Small, J . , Hallock, Z . , Pavey, G. et a l . , 1999. Observations of large amplitude internal waw;s at the Malin Shelf

edge during SESAME 1995. Continental ShelfRes. 19: 1389- 1436.

Thorpe, S. A. , Lemmin, U. , 1999. Internal waves and temperature fronts on slopes. Ann. Geophy.-Atmosph.

Hydrosph. Space Sei. 1 7 ( 9 ) : 1227- 1234.

Wang, T . , Gao, T. F . , Zhang, Y. P. et a l . , 1999. Internal waves and sound-speed distributions in the Yellow

Sea. J. Acoast..Sac. Am. 106(4): 2117. (in Chinese with English abstract)

Wang, T . , Gao, T. F . , 2001. Internal tides, solitary waves and bores in shallow seas. Chin. J. Oeennol. Limnol. 19(2): 1 0 3 - 1 1 1 .

Wang, T . , Gao, T. F . , Jiang, D. J. et a l . , 2000. Nonlinear internal tides in the Yellow Sea. Proc. 10th Intl.

Offshore P~dar Eng. Conf., ISOPE, Seattle, Vol. III, 171 - 174.

Xu, Z. T. , 1999. Dynamics of Internal Waves in the Ocean. Sci. Press, Beijing, p. 1 - 336. (in Chinese)

Zhao, J. S . , 1992. Oceanography in China, 3, Study of Internal Waves in a Shallow Sea. Ocean Press, Beijing, p.

1 - 102. (in Chinese)

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