- Open Access
Source characteristics of ocean infragravity waves in the Philippine Sea: analysis of 3-year continuous network records of seafloor motion and pressure
© Tono et al.; licensee Springer. 2014
- Received: 6 June 2014
- Accepted: 16 August 2014
- Published: 26 August 2014
Continuous 3-year records of broadband ocean-bottom seismometers and pressure gauges of the seafloor network (Dense Oceanfloor Network System for Earthquakes and Tsunamis (DONET)) in the Nankai Trough region made it possible to monitor incoming ocean infragravity (IG) waves. Application of a slant-stacking technique revealed that the most energetic IG waves are incoming across the Nankai Trough from the Philippine Sea with limited energy of reflected waves back from the nearest coast. The sources of the most energetic waves are narrowly and stably localized into two closely adjacent azimuthal windows with mutually different wave spectral characteristics. Both sources show a seasonal variation, weak in summer and strong in winter. Although less energetic, IG waves propagating parallel to the trough and coast are observed. Such waves are greatly amplified when IG waves from a distant typhoon are incoming to the trough, suggesting the secondary origin of IG waves that can emit even more energetic waves than the originally incoming waves.
- Infragravity wave
- Seafloor network
- Pressure gauge
- Philippine Sea
Ocean infragravity (IG) waves are sea surface gravity waves with periods of several minutes and wavelengths of tens of kilometers. The phase velocity of IG waves observed in deep ocean environments is accurately explained by the gravity wave theory (e.g., Webb et al.1991). These waves are considered to be excited by non-linear interactions between oceanic swells (Longuet-Higgins and Stewart 1962; Herbers et al. 1995) and may be enhanced by tidal modulation in coastal oceans (Guza and Thornton 1982; Okihiro and Guza 1995; Tomson et al. 2006) and deep sea (Sugioka et al. 2010). IG waves also are considered to excite the Earth's hum (Rhie and Romanowicz 2004, 2006; Tanimoto 2005; Nishida et al. 2008; Fukao et al. 2010; Nishida 2013).
Dolenc et al. (2005) compared the power spectra of ocean-bottom seismic records at a station located offshore of the Monterey Bay in California with the wave spectral densities measured by the nearby National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) buoy. They observed two types of IG wave modulations with short (30- to 40-s) and long (10-day) periods, the latter being correlated with the ocean tides at the station. Sugioka et al. (2010) also observed the tidal modulation of IG waves on the records of broadband ocean-bottom seismometers (BBOBS) at deep seafloors. They further found a remarkable correlation of the IG spectral peak with the seafloor depth. Godin et al. (2013) showed a pronounced dependence of the energy density of IG wave on the frequency and local water depth using pressure gauge records of 28 locations on the seafloor off New Zealand. Harmon et al. (2012) used five differential pressure gauges located off the coast of Sumatra and applied an array analysis. They detected IG waves that propagate along the coast from southeast or south. Crawford et al. (1991) took advantage of a simultaneous measurement of sea-bottom pressure and seafloor displacement at a single station. They measured the sea-bottom pressure changes due to IG waves and the resultant seafloor vertical displacement to take their ratio (compliance) which carries information about the elastic structure of the oceanic crust. When we analyze the sea-bottom pressure and/or seafloor displacement, IG waves, a ubiquitous phenomenon on the sea, can be a strong background noise. Understandings of IG wave-related phenomena are important from the view point of seismology as well as oceanography.
A submarine cable network named the Dense Oceanfloor Network System for Earthquakes and Tsunamis (DONET) was recently deployed offshore of the Kii Peninsula in the Nankai Trough region (Kaneda 2010; Kawaguchi et al. 2010; Nakano et al. 2013). This network is equipped with six instruments at each station, including a three-component BBOBS and an absolute pressure gauge. Thus, DONET provides a good opportunity for array-based compliance analysis to study the crustal structure beneath the network, the generation mechanisms of IG waves, and the IG wave-related seismic phenomena including the Earth's hum. In this study, we investigate the nature of incoming IG waves to DONET on the basis of continuous 3-year observations.
Data and method
An example of the typical pattern in spring (and summer) is shown in Figure 4c, where the waves from the SE reduce their intensity so that wave signals from the other directions, particularly from the southwest (SW) and from the northeast (NE) to east-northeast (ENE), become more visible. These waves may be interpreted as edge waves trapped by reflections from the coast and refractions backward from the Nankai Trough to propagate through the corridor in between. Figure 4d shows the impact of Typhoon Man-yi on 14 September, 2013, where it was located on the Philippine Sea far to the south of the network as sketched in the inset of Figure 1 (Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA); http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/jma-eng/jma-center/rsmc-hp-pub-eg/trackarchives.html). This typhoon moved from a back azimuth of 175° to 193° during the day and amplified the IG waves incoming from the SSE direction, and even more greatly from the NE to ENE direction, whereas those incoming from the ESE remained weak. Strengthening of IG waves from the NE to ENE direction is commonly observed when a typhoon is reported to be on the Philippine Sea, regardless of the exact incoming direction of IG waves originated by the typhoon, which varies widely in a range between the SSE and SW. These observations suggest that the amplified IG waves from the NE to ENE direction were generated secondarily at far distances from the primary (typhoon) source.We measured the incoming direction of the most energetic IG waves during the 3-year period. In the subsequent discussion, we show only the results from the pressure records, which are in agreement with those from the displacement records within an error of 5°. Figure 5 shows a histogram of the measured incoming direction. The SE direction dominates, although the detail is composed of two closely adjacent directions with a clear gap in between: one is SSE in a range of 140° to 160° (measured clockwise from the north) and the other is ESE in a range of 110° to 130°, which account for 40% and 32% of the total measurements, respectively. Together, these two directions account for 72% of the measurements. Figure 6a shows the daily variations of the incoming direction of the most energetic IG waves throughout the 3 years, where the color indicates the PSD value. The seasonal variations of the incoming directions are clarified by Figure 6b, in which the results for each of 3 years are superimposed. Several features can be observed from this figure: (1) The SSE and ESE persist as the dominant incident directions; (2) the energy of the IG wave incoming from these two directions shows the same seasonal variations of strong in winter and weak in summer; and (3) in summer, strong waves occasionally are incoming from the other directions. To explore observation (3) in detail, we divided the plots in Figure 6b into two as Figure 6c,d. The plots in Figure 6d are limited to the days on which the JMA reported a typhoon or typhoons on the Philippine Sea, whereas the plots in Figure 6c exclude such days. Figure 6c reinforces observations (1) and (2), which imply two distinct excitation sources of IG waves which are spatially stable and seasonally varying synchronously. Figure 6d indicates that the typhoon-associated IG waves are incoming from separate directions, one more or less directly from the typhoon in the SSE (as shown in Figure 4d) to SW and the other apparently from the submarine topographic high in the NE to ENE. IG waves incoming from this direction are often more energetic than those directly from the source on the typhoon's track. It is noted that the wave amplitudes from the two stationary sources in the SSE and ESE directions remained largely unchanged, even in the days where a typhoon was reported to be on the Philippine Sea.
Although IG waves are known to be a ubiquitously observable phenomenon (Webb et al. 1991), this does not necessarily mean that IG waves are generated everywhere in the ocean. We have identified persistent, energetic IG sources in two azimuthal windows SSE and ESE of the network. The identified sources are rather localized and remain geographically stationary but show seasonally varying intensities of strong in winter and weak in summer. Higher-frequency waves are more dominantly incoming from the shallower ocean with more complex seafloor topography in the ESE direction. Lower-frequency waves are more dominantly incoming from the deeper ocean with less complex seafloor topography in the SSE direction. As shown in Figures 4c and 7b, an additional remarkable observation was the persistence of feeble IG waves incoming from the SW direction and from the NE-ENE directions, which may be interpreted as edge waves generated by reflections from the coast and refractions backward from the Nankai Trough to propagate as trapped waves in between. In particular, IG waves incoming from the NE-ENE directions are greatly amplified when IG waves originated by a typhoon on the Philippine Sea are incident. The amplified amplitudes often well exceed the amplitudes of incident waves from the primary origin. A seafloor network equipped with broadband ocean-bottom seismometers and pressure gauges, such as the DONET, is highly useful for detecting IG waves and observing the related phenomena.
The Generic Mapping Tools (Wessel and Smith 1991) and Seismic Analysis Code (Goldstein et al. 1998) were used in this study. A part of the DONET data is available from http://www.jamstec.go.jp/donetevent/NINJA/top.do. We thank Dai Suetsugu for all his help. We also thank two anonymous reviewers and the associate editor (Azusa Nishizawa) for many constructive comments.
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