The effects of large and small-scale topography upon internal waves and implications for tidally induced mixing in sill regions

Xing, Jiuxing; Davies, Alan. 2010 The effects of large and small-scale topography upon internal waves and implications for tidally induced mixing in sill regions. Ocean Dynamics, 60 (1). 1-25. 10.1007/s10236-009-0234-1

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A free surface non-hydrostatic model in cross-sectional form namely two dimensional in the vertical is used to examine the role of larger scale topography, namely sill width and smaller scale topography namely ripples on the sill upon internal wave generation and mixing in sill regions. The present work is set in the context of earlier work, and the wider literature in order to emphasis the problems of simulating mixing in hydrographic models. Highlights from previous calculations, and references to the literature for detail together with new results presented here with smooth and “ripple” topography are used to show that an idealised cross sectional model can reproduce the dominant features found in observations at the Loch Etive sill. Calculations show that on both the short and long time scales the presence of small scale “ripple” topography influence the mixing and associated Richardson number distribution in the sill region. Subsequent calculations in which the position and form of the small scale sill topography is varied, show for the first time that it is the small scale topography near the sill crest that is particularly important in enhancing mid-water mixing on the lee side of the sill. Both short term and longer term calculations with a reduced sill width, and associated time series, show that as the sill width is reduced the non-linear response of the system increases. In addition Richardson number plots show that the region of critical Richardson number, and hence enhanced mixing increases with time and a reduction in sill width. Calculations in which buoyancy frequency N varies through the vertical show that buoyancy frequency close to the top of the sill is primarily controlling mixing rather than its mean value. Hence a Froude number based on sill depth and local N is the critical parameter, rather than one based on total depth and mean N.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1007/s10236-009-0234-1
Programmes: Oceans 2025 > Next generation ocean prediction systems
Date made live: 13 Oct 2009 14:57

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