Interaction of a mode-2 internal solitary wave with narrow isolated topography

David Deepwell, Mark Stastna, Magdalen Carr, Peter Davies

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29 Citations (Scopus)
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Numerical and experimental studies of the transit of a mode-2 internal solitary wave over an isolated ridge are presented. All studies used a quasi-two-layer fluid with a pycnocline centred at the middepth. The wave amplitude and total fluid depth were both varied, while the topography remained fixed. The strength of the interaction between the internal solitary waves and the hill was found to be characterized by three regimes: weak, moderate, and strong interactions. The weak interaction exhibited negligible wave modulation and bottom surface stress. The moderate interaction generated weak and persistent vorticity in the lower layer, in addition to negligible wave modulation. The strong interaction clearly showed material from the trapped core of the mode-2 wave extracted in the form of a thin filament while generating a strong vortex at the hill. A criterion for the strength of the interaction was found by non-dimensionalizing the wave amplitude by the lower layer depth, a/`. A passive tracer was used to measure the conditions for resuspension of boundary material due to the interaction. The speed and prevalence of cross boundary layer transport increased with a/`. Published by AIP Publishing.
Original languageEnglish
Article number076601
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2017


  • Internal waves
  • Geodesy
  • Vector calculus
  • Turbulent flows
  • Oceanography


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