A model study of internal waves.
Weigand, James Gary
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Experiments on the generation of internal waves by low amplitude surface wave traveling over a continental shelf were carried out in a U-shaped wave channel 10. U m long, O.k m wide and up to O.U m deep. Long surface waves were generated at one end of this channel, and various model continental shelves were placed at the other end. ' The shelves were either of uniform depth or of constant slope, and their height above the bottom and width could be varied over wide ranges. An approximate two -layer system was achieved by means of a fresh water layer introduced over a saline layer. The salinity profile was determined by titration of microsamples drawn from a series of depths. Amplitude and period of surface waves, depth, width, and shape of the shelf, density distribution and total depth were varied independently. Quantitative data on the waves were obtained from both moving and still photographs of dye on the interface between the two layers. The experiments have demonstrated the effectiveness of this mechanism in generating large amplitude internal waves. Friction was important in many of the cases studied, and often caused the internal waves over the shelf to be progressive waves traveling toward the shore, instead of the standing waves predicted by theory. Progressive waves were always found to travel seaward from the continental slope region. The amplitude of the internal waves was found to be in general agreement with the theory of Rattray (i960), when friction was not important in the model. In many cases active mixing took place in the shelf region, and in some cases density currents were formed.
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