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During the recent Asian Seas International Acoustics Experiment (ASIAEX), extensive current meter moorings were deployed around the continental shelf-break area in the northeastern South China Sea. Thirteen RADARSAT SAR images were collected during the field test to integrate with the in situ measurements from the moorings, ship-board sensors, and conductivity/temperatire/depth (CTD) casts. Besides providing a synoptic view of the entire region, satellite imagery is very useful for tracking the internal waves, locating surface fronts, and identifying mesoscale features. During ASIAEX in May 2001, many large internal waves were observed at the test area and were the major oceanic features studied for acoustic volume interaction. Based on the internal wave distribution maps compiled from satellite data, the wave crests can be as long as 200 km with an amplitude of 100 m. Environmental parameters have been calculated based on extensive CTD casts data near the ASIAEX area. Nonlinear internal wave models have been applied to integrate and assimilate both synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and mooring data. Using SAR data in deep water as an initial condition, numerical simulations produced the wave evolution on the continental shelf and compared reasonably well with the mooring measurements at the downstream station. The shoaling, turning, and dissipation of large internal waves at the shelf break have been studied and are very important issues for acoustic propagation.
Date of Publication: Oct. 2004