Internal waves of the fundamental mode propagating into a shoaling region have been studied experimentally in a continuously stratified fluid. The waves divide into three classes depending upon the ratio of the bottom slope γ to the wave-characteristic slope c. For γ/c < 1, the amplitude and wavenumber changes of the waves over the slope are in reasonable accord with a simple inviscid linear theory, prior to wave breakdown near the intersection of the slope and surface. Considerable mixing occurs in this corner region. When γ/c = 1, a striking instability of the bottom boundary layer is observed and the waves are heavily damped. When γ/c > 1, the waves are inhomogeneous and have complex spatial dependence.
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