Chinese scientists detect internal ocean waves from Tonga volcano

(ORDO NEWS) — According to a recent research article published in the journal Acta Oceanologica Sinica, Chinese researchers have detected oceanic internal waves generated by the volcanic eruption of Tonga, Xinhua News Agency reported Sept. 11.

Internal waves are widespread in the marginal seas or on the continental shelves.

They have an amplitude of up to hundreds of meters and wave crests of several hundred kilometers and significantly affect the ocean environment, the article says.

But internal waves are rarely observed in open ocean areas due to the strong scattering effect in the deep ocean.

Researchers from the Institute of Oceanology and the Center for Ocean Sciences at the Chinese Academy of Sciences reported seeing internal waves caused by the Tonga volcano eruption.

The Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano near Nuku’alofa, the capital of Tonga, erupted and caused a tsunami in January.

Satellites recorded the volcanic eruption and the atmospheric turbulence it caused across the globe.

Using satellite imagery, the researchers observed distinct internal wave packets propagating in different directions, the article says.

The length of the internal wave crests ranges from less than 20 km to 67 km. And the characteristic wavelength ranges from 860.9 meters to more than 1530 meters, which is a typical value of internal waves.

The study shows that volcanic eruptions not only cause fluctuations in the atmosphere, but also trigger dynamic processes such as internal waves in the ocean.

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