, Volume 64, Issue 5, pp 789-802
Date: 19 Sep 2008

Numerical study of baroclinic tides in Luzon Strait

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Abstract

The spatial and temporal variations of baroclinic tides in the Luzon Strait (LS) are investigated using a three-dimensional tide model driven by four principal constituents, O1, K1, M2 and S2, individually or together with seasonal mean summer or winter stratifications as the initial field. Barotropic tides propagate predominantly westward from the Pacific Ocean, impinge on two prominent north-south running submarine ridges in LS, and generate strong baroclinic tides propagating into both the South China Sea (SCS) and the Pacific Ocean. Strong baroclinic tides, ∼19 GW for diurnal tides and ∼11 GW for semidiurnal tides, are excited on both the east ridge (70%) and the west ridge (30%). The barotropic to baroclinic energy conversion rate reaches 30% for diurnal tides and ∼20% for semidiurnal tides. Diurnal (O1 and K1) and semidiurnal (M2) baroclinic tides have a comparable depth-integrated energy flux 10–20 kW m−1 emanating from the LS into the SCS and the Pacific basin. The spring-neap averaged, meridionally integrated baroclinic tidal energy flux is ∼7 GW into the SCS and ∼6 GW into the Pacific Ocean, representing one of the strongest baroclinic tidal energy flux regimes in the World Ocean. About 18 GW of baroclinic tidal energy, ∼50% of that generated in the LS, is lost locally, which is more than five times that estimated in the vicinity of the Hawaiian ridge. The strong westward-propagating semidiurnal baroclinic tidal energy flux is likely the energy source for the large-amplitude nonlinear internal waves found in the SCS. The baroclinic tidal energy generation, energy fluxes, and energy dissipation rates in the spring tide are about five times those in the neap tide; while there is no significant seasonal variation of energetics, but the propagation speed of baroclinic tide is about 10% faster in summer than in winter. Within the LS, the average turbulence kinetic energy dissipation rate is O(10−7) W kg− 1 and the turbulence diffusivity is O(10−3) m2s−1, a factor of 100 greater than those in the typical open ocean. This strong turbulence mixing induced by the baroclinic tidal energy dissipation exists in the main path of the Kuroshio and is important in mixing the Pacific Ocean, Kuroshio, and the SCS waters.