Complex small-scale processes and energetic turbulence are observed at a sill located on the I-Lan Ridge that spans across the strong Kuroshio off Taiwan. The current speed above the sill is strong (1.5 m s21) and unsteady (60.5 m s21) due to the Kuroshio being modulated by the semidiurnal tide. Above the sill crest, isothermal domes, with vertical scales of;20 and;50 m during the low and high tides, respectively, are generated by turbulent mixing as a result of shear instability in the bottom boundary layer. Tidally modulated hydraulic character modifies the small-scale processes occurring on the leeward side of the sill. Criticality analysis, performed by solving the Taylor–Goldstein equation, suggests that the observed lee waves and intermediate layer sandwiched by two free shear layers are related to the mode-1 and mode-2 critical control between the sill crest and immediate lee, respectively. Around high tide, lee waves are advected fur-ther downstream, and only mode-1 critical control can occur, leading to a warm water depression. The shear instabilities ensuing from the hydraulic transition processes continuously mediate flow kinetic energy to turbulence such that the status of marginal instability where the Richardson number converges at approximately 0.25 is reached. The resultant eddy diffu-sivity Kr is concentrated from O(1024) to O(1023) m2 s21 and has a maximum value of 10 m2 s21. The sill on the western flank of the Kuroshio is a hotspot for energetic mixing of Kuroshio waters and South China Sea waters.
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