A perfect focus of the internal tide from the Mariana Arc

Authors


Abstract

[1] The Mariana Arc of ridges and islands forms an ∼1300-km-long arc of a circle, ∼630 km in radius centered at 17°N, 139.6°E. The hypothesis that the westward-propagating internal tides originating from the arc converge in a focal region is tested by examining the dominant M2 internal tides observed with air-launched expendable bathythermographs (AXBTs) and altimetric data from multiple satellites. The altimetric and AXBT observations agree well, though they measure different aspects of the internal tidal motion. M2 internal tides radiate both westward and eastward from the Mariana Arc, with isophase lines parallel to the arc and sharing the same center. The westward-propagating M2 internal tides converge in a focal region, and diverge beyond the focus. The focusing leads to energetic M2 internal tides in the focal region. The spatially smoothed energy flux is about 6.5 kW/m, about four times the mean value at the arc; the spatially un-smoothed energy flux may reach up to 17 kW/m. The size of the focus is close to the Rayleigh estimate; it is thus a perfect focus.

Ancillary