Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-59b7f5684b-b2xwp Total loading time: 0.322 Render date: 2022-09-30T11:15:58.099Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "displayNetworkTab": true, "displayNetworkMapGraph": false, "useSa": true } hasContentIssue true

The instability and breaking of long internal waves

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 November 2005

CARY D. TROY
Affiliation:
Environmental Fluid Mechanics Laboratory, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94309-4020, USA
JEFFREY R. KOSEFF
Affiliation:
Environmental Fluid Mechanics Laboratory, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94309-4020, USA

Abstract

Laboratory experiments are carried out to determine the nature of internal wave breaking and the limiting wave steepness for progressive, periodic, lowest-mode internal waves in a two-layer, miscible density stratification. Shoaling effects are not considered. The waves investigated here are long relative to the thickness of the density interface separating the two fluid layers. Planar laser-induced fluoresence (PLIF) flow visualization shows that wave breaking most closely resembles a Kelvin–Helmholtz shear instability originating in the high-shear wave crest and trough regions. However, this instability is strongly temporally and spatially modified by the oscillations of the driving wave shear. Unlike a steady stratified shear layer, the wave instability discussed here is not governed by the canonical $\it Ri{=}1/4$ stability limit. Instead, the wave time scale (the time scale of the destabilizing shear) imposes an additional constraint on instability, lowering the critical Richardson number below 1/4. Experiments were carried out to quantify this instability threshold, and show that, for the range of wavenumbers considered in this study, the critical wave steepness at which the wave breaking occurs is wavenumber-dependent (unlike surface waves). The corresponding critical wave Richardson numbers at incipient wave breaking are well below 1/4, in consonance with a modified instability analysis based on results from stratified shear flow instability theory.

Type
Papers
Copyright
© 2005 Cambridge University Press

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)
61
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

The instability and breaking of long internal waves
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

The instability and breaking of long internal waves
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

The instability and breaking of long internal waves
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *