The generation of internal waves over continental shelf topography

Kenny Kay Wooi Lim

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

    88 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    Laboratory experiments were performed to examine the generation of internal waves by barotropic tidal flow over a continental slope, in both a two-layer and a continuously stratified fluid, under varying tidal forcing intensity and density stratification. Observations for the two-layer case revealed the formation of both linear and nonlinear waveforms as the barotropic tide interacted with the continental slope. The type of wave response generated was strongly dependent on the tidal forcing intensity and the position of the density interface relative to the shelf depth. In general, for a given tidal forcing as the layer depth ratio, the ratio of the upper layer depth to the total water depth over the shelf, approached unity (i.e., the point when the density interface intersected the bottom slope), nonlinear effects increased and the generated waveform transitioned from a linear wave of depression to an internal surge and finally to an internal bolus feature. Like the two-layer case, a range of wave responses was also observed in the continuous stratification experiments, ranging from internal wave beams to internal boluses and finally no wave-like response at all. Here, the type of response generated was primarily dependent on both the Reynolds number and the topographic steepness parameter. To simplify this two-parameter problem, a generation parameter G was defined, where G is the ratio of the Reynolds number to the topographic steepness parameter. This generation parameter G was shown to be a simple and efficient way of classifying the different types of flow responses over the entire parameter range. For each density stratification case and using these dimensionless parameters, a flow regime diagram of the observed responses was developed showing the conditions under which a particular type of response was expected to dominate. These observations compared well to field observations of internal waves on the Australian North West Shelf, the region motivatin
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2010

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