Some of the best internal waves for Earth Day

The earth is pretty awesome. And because it is Earth Day, I am going to celebrate one of my favorite Earth features: internal waves.

I mean look at this awesome sequence of 3 internal waves groups you can see from space. These solitons are coming at you Palawan, breaking in UR seashores.

Source: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=3586

Source: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=3586

 

Solitons are a particular type of internal wave that become humongous through a series of complicated interactions. But all the action is underwater. The surface wave while incredibly wide, is less than a meter high!

Source: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=80337

Source: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=80337

Here are some smaller, yet equally impressive internal waves from my neck of the woods: Bellingham Bay, Washington. Seriously lens dust, you are blocking some truly awesome internal wave imagery.

Source: http://www.slideshare.net/ChristopherKrembs/eops-2015-921

Source: http://www.slideshare.net/ChristopherKrembs/eops-2015-921

Look at this internal wave refract and wrap its crests and troughs around Dongsha Island in the South China Sea. It’s like ocean physics is giving geology a hug. AWWWWW.

Source: http://www.rsmas.miami.edu/news-events/press-releases/2015/scientists-track-speed-of-powerful-internal-waves

Source: http://www.rsmas.miami.edu/news-events/press-releases/2015/scientists-track-speed-of-powerful-internal-waves

YOU GUYS. This is buy-one-get-one-free of internal waves.

Source: http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view.php?id=69463

Source: http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view.php?id=69463

Speaking of the atmosphere, did you know there are internal waves in the sky too?  OH HAI baja, make me some waves.

Source: http://www.ualberta.ca/~bsuther/imagelinks/earth.html

Source: http://www.ualberta.ca/~bsuther/imagelinks/earth.html

Winds blowing past a cluster of South Sandwich islands makes a cluster of waves. But the real question is will they make a wave sandwich?

Source: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=41390

Source: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=41390

Let’s just make cram my love of ocean, waves and ice all into one image. Atmospheric internal waves created by icebergs. I’m just going to go explode now. HAPPY EARTH DAY!

Source: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=87075

Source: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=87075

Dr. Martini (142 Posts)

Kim is a Senior Oceanographer at Sea-Bird Scientific. She received her Ph.D. in Physical Oceanography from the University of Washington in 2010. Her goal in life is to throw expensive s**t in the ocean. When not at sea, she has used observations from moored, satellite and land-based instruments to understand the pathways that wind and tidal energy take from large (internal tides) to small scales (turbulence). Her current mission is to make your oceanographic data be the best data it can be.


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One comment on “Some of the best internal waves for Earth Day
  1. Those are beautiful phenomena. Can you explain more about that “surface wave under a meter high” thing? The “internal” wave action is between density strata of the water, if I understand what we’re talking about. (?) What’s the effect they have on the air/water interface, to displace it vertically like that?

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