Features of Internal Waves in a Shoaling Thermocline


Observations and numeric modeling of internal wave generation and transformation in the shelf zone of sea show that the main part of tidal energy is transported to shores in form of internal gravitational waves. Long-term measurements of temperature and current velocity fluctuations at many levels in the near-bottom thermocline were carried out during the periods when stable seasonal thermocline was present. Analysis of the measurements permits us to understand mechanisms of internal wave destruction with turbulent motion generation and corresponding rebuilding of velocity and density mean fields in the stratified near-bottom layer. Spectral analysis of temperature fluctuations shows that in shoaling internal waves the low-frequency maxima disappear, maxima at higher frequencies appear, and the spectra slope in the high frequency range changes with depth. Taking into account the concurrent analysis of near-bottom pressure fluctuations and current velocity fluctuations from surface till bottom we come to the conclusion that breaking internal waves in a near-bottom thermocline generate not only small-scale three-dimensional turbulence, but also quasi-horizontal turbulence of larger scales, which considerably contributes into mixing and sediments, alluvium, and nutrients transport in the shelf zone of sea.

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V. Navrotsky, V. Liapidevskii and E. Pavlova, "Features of Internal Waves in a Shoaling Thermocline," International Journal of Geosciences, Vol. 4 No. 5, 2013, pp. 871-879. doi: 10.4236/ijg.2013.45081.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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