Springer

Modelling the motion of an internal solitary wave over a bottom ridge in a stratified fluid

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A series of laboratory experiments has been carried out to investigate the passage of an internal solitary wave of depression over a bottom ridge, in a two-layer fluid system for which the upper and lower layer is linearly-stratified and homogeneous respectively. Density, velocity and vorticity fields induced by the wave propagation over the ridge have been measured simultaneously at three locations, namely upstream, downstream and over the ridge crest, for a wide range of model parameters. Results are presented to show that wave breaking may occur for a sufficiently large wave amplitude and a strong ridge blockage factor, with accompanying mixing and overturning. Density field data are presented (i) to illustrate the overturning and mixing processes that accompany the wave breaking and (ii) to quantify the degree of mixing in terms of the wave and ridge parameters. For weak encounters, good agreement is obtained between the laboratory experimental results (velocity and vorticity fields induced by the wave propagation) and the predictions of a recently-developed fully nonlinear theory. Discrepancies between theory and experiment are discussed for cases in which breaking and mixing occur.

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