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Internal Waves

A major type of motion within a lake body is that of internal wave motion. We are most familiar

with wave motion on the surface of a lake. One unique characteristic of stratiﬁed systems is

that wave motion can also be present on any isopicnal surface (surface of constant density).

In fact, the surface of the lake is itself an isopicnal surface in a stratiﬁed system containing

the lake-atmosphere interface. In a similar way to surface waves, all lines of constant density

within the body of a stratiﬁed lake may have periodic wave motion. In systems with continuous

stratiﬁcation these waves are called internal waves. In systems with step stratiﬁcation, as in the

water-atmosphere system, these waves are called interfacial waves or surface waves.

In this chapter we begin by considering interfacial waves in detail since they are easier to

study mathematically and since they still remain a good model of the density structure in many

natural environments (e.g. epilimnion-hypolimnion stratiﬁcation in lakes, reservoirs, estuaries,

and oceans). We ﬁrst present the analysis for a bounded domain (rigid-lid approximation) and

generalizations to a series of special cases. We continue by removing the top boundary in order

to consider the eﬀects of a free surface. In the ﬁnal section the results for interfacial waves are

extended to continuous stratiﬁcation.

For further reading on internal and interfacial waves see Fischer et al. (1979), Wetzel (1983),

Acheson (1990) and Buick (1997).

10.1 Bounded interfacial waves

Consider the stratiﬁed, two-layer, bounded system depicted in Figure 10.1. For our analysis we

will make the following simplifying assumptions:

1. The two ﬂuids are immiscible.

2. Both the upper and lower boundaries are rigid.

3. Horizontal motion is in only one direction.

4. Inviscid analysis is applicable (i.e. the viscosity approaches zero, implying the Reynolds

number Re is large).

5. The ﬂow within each layer is irrotational.

6. The interfacial waves are small amplitude linear waves (this assumption is elaborated further

in the discussion of the boundary conditions).

Our ﬁrst step is to derive the governing equations. Here, we will follow the traditional ap-

proach (see, e.g. Acheson (1990), Buick (1997), and Drazin (2002)). For this approach we deﬁne

Copyright c 2004 by Scott A. Socolofsky and Gerhard H. Jirka. All rights reserved.

172 10. Internal Waves

z

h

1

φ

2

φ

1

ρ

2

ρ

1

h

2

η(x,t)

laterally

unbounded

x

-z

Fig. 10.1. Deﬁnition sketch for bounded interfacial waves.

a velocity potential, φ, such that

u =

∂φ

∂x

; w =

∂φ

∂z

(10.1)

where u is the horizontal velocity and w is the vertical velocity in the ﬂuid. Substituting φ into

the mass conservation equation for an incompressible ﬂuid we obtain

∂u

i

∂x

i

= 0

∂u

∂x

+

∂w

∂z

= 0

∂

2

φ

∂x

2

+

∂

2

φ

∂z

2

= 0. (10.2)

The ﬁnal result (10.2) is known as the Laplace equation (also written as ∇

2

φ = 0), which you

may have encountered previously in heat transfer and the analysis of electric and magnetic ﬁeld

potentials. Because we assume that each layer is irrotational, we can deﬁne independent velocity

potentials in each layer; thus, our governing equations are

∇

2

φ

1

= 0; (10.3)

∇

2

φ

2

= 0. (10.4)

The next step is to specify the boundary and intial conditions. Since our governing equations

are second-order in two spatial coordinates, we have four boundary conditions in each layer for a

total of eight boundary conditions. We also must satisfy momentum conservation (applied later

as an auxiliary condition at the interface), which introduces a ﬁrst-order derivative in time.

Hence, we also have one initial condition for each layer, for a total of two initial conditions.

Four of the boundary conditions (two in each layer) and both initial conditions are satisﬁed

by so-called behavioral boundary conditions (see Boyd (1989) for a detailed description of such

boundary conditions). The boundary condition statement is: the solution must be periodic in

space and time. This condition is satisﬁed implicitly by selecting a periodic general solution.

10.1 Bounded interfacial waves 173

Two more boundary conditions are obtained from the bounded domain: the vertical velocity

must vanish at the upper and lower bounds. This condition provides one boundary condition for

each layer, namely

∂φ

1

∂z

¸

¸

¸

¸

z=+h

1

= 0; (10.5)

∂φ

2

∂z

¸

¸

¸

¸

z=−h

2

= 0. (10.6)

The rigid boundary condition for the upper boundary is often used as an approximation for the

free surface boundary condition. Such an approximation is called the rigid lid approximation.

The remaining two boundary conditions come from the kinematic condition at the interface:

ﬂuid particles can only move tangentially to the ﬂuid interface. To express this condition math-

ematically, we must consider the interface between the two ﬂuids in more detail. The interface

location z

i

is deﬁned by the function

F = z

i

−η(x, t) = 0 (10.7)

where η(x, t) is the interface disturbance (refer to Figure 10.1). The interface itself is also a

streamline, so we can say F = 0 as we follow the ﬂuid along the streamline of the interface.

Writing this Lagrangian reference frame statement in the Eulerian reference frame gives

∂F

∂t

+u · ∇F = 0 (10.8)

at z = η. To simplify this equation we write it in non-dimensional form using the transformation

variables

x = λx

∗

z = az

∗

u = U

0

u

∗

w = U

0

w

∗

t =

a

U

0

t

∗

where λ is the wave length, a is the wave amplitude, U

0

is a characteristic ﬂuid velocity and the

variables denoted by

∗

are the new non-dimensional variables. Substituting, we obtain

∂η

∂t

+

a

λ

u

∂η

∂x

= w (10.9)

where we have dropped the stars to simplify the notation. For small-amplitude waves a λ,

and we can neglect the non-linear convective term. This method of approximation is called

linearization. Further, we can apply the linearized condition at z = 0 instead of z = η. Hence,

the kinematic boundary condition is

∂η

∂t

= w (10.10)

which says that the vertical velocity of the ﬂuid at the interface must equal the velocity of the

interface. Since we have vertical velocities in both layers, this condition can be applied twice

giving us

174 10. Internal Waves

∂φ

1

∂z

¸

¸

¸

¸

z=0

=

∂η

∂t

¸

¸

¸

¸

z=0

; (10.11)

∂φ

2

∂z

¸

¸

¸

¸

z=0

=

∂η

∂t

¸

¸

¸

¸

z=0

. (10.12)

Finally, we must supply the initial conditions by enforcing momentum conservation. This

provides a dynamic boundary condition at the ﬂuid interface: the normal stress of the ﬂuid

must be continuous across the interface (Drazin 2002). For an inviscid ﬂuid, this means that the

pressure is continuous at the interface. Taking the inviscid momentum equation in the vertical

direction, we have

Dw

Dt

= −

1

ρ

∂p

∂z

−g (10.13)

where D/Dt is the material derivative operator. Substituting the velocity potential and lineariz-

ing the convective terms of the material derivative leaves

∂

∂z

_

∂φ

∂t

_

= −

1

ρ

∂p

∂z

−g. (10.14)

We can now integrate with respect to z to obtain

ρ

∂φ

∂t

+p +ρgz = C

0

(10.15)

where C

0

is an integration constant. This equation is also known as the unsteady Bernoulli

equation, and must be constant along a streamline. Selecting the interface of the ﬂuids as the

streamline and recognizing p

1

= p

2

at the interface, we have

ρ

1

∂φ

1

∂t

¸

¸

¸

¸

z=0

= ρ

2

∂φ

2

∂t

¸

¸

¸

¸

z=0

+gη(ρ

2

−ρ

1

). (10.16)

This equation speciﬁes the relationship between the spatial and temporal periodicity in the

behavioral boundary conditions. In other words, our behavioral boundary condition cannot have

arbitrary periodicity in space and time.

It is now possible to solve (10.3) and (10.4) given the above boundary and initial conditions.

Since we are interested in simple harmonic motion, we specify the interface motion as

η(x, t) = a cos(kx −ωt) (10.17)

where k and ω are the interfacial wave number and frequency, respectively. Since we have lin-

earized the equations, the system response must have the same periodicity; thus, using the

separation of variables technique, we seek solutions of the form

φ

j

= Z

j

(z)e

i(kx−ωt)

(10.18)

where j = 1, 2 is the ﬂuid layer and where we have written the periodicity in terms of a

cosine function through the use of implied real-part operators (recall cos(αx) = Re(e

iαx

) =

Re(cos(αx) + i sin(αx))). Substituting (10.18) into the Laplace equation, we obtain the follow-

ing ordinary diﬀerential equation for Z

j

:

∂

2

Z

j

∂z

2

−k

2

Z

j

= 0. (10.19)

10.1 Bounded interfacial waves 175

The general solution of (10.19) is

Z

j

(z) = C

j

e

kz

+D

j

e

−kz

(10.20)

where k is positive by deﬁnition.

Substituting (10.18) into the boundary conditions on the ﬁxed boundaries, we have

C

1

ke

kh

1

−D

1

ke

−kh

1

= 0; (10.21)

C

2

ke

−kh

2

−D

2

ke

kh

2

= 0. (10.22)

Substituting (10.17) and (10.18) into the kinematic boundary conditions at the interface, we

have

C

1

−D

1

=

−iaω

k

; (10.23)

C

2

−D

2

=

−iaω

k

. (10.24)

Solving this system of four equations in four unknowns, we obtain

C

1

=

−iaωe

−2kh

1

k(e

−2kh

1

−1)

(10.25)

C

2

=

−iaωe

2kh

2

k(e

2kh

2

−1)

(10.26)

D

1

=

−iaω

k(e

−2kh

1

−1)

(10.27)

D

2

=

−iaω

k(e

2kh

2

−1)

. (10.28)

Substituting into (10.20) and showing the algebra, we have

Z

1

=

−iaωe

−2kh

1

+kz

k(e

−2kh

1

−1)

+

−iaωe

−kz

k(e

−2kh

1

−1)

=

−iaω

k

e

−2kh

1

+kz

+e

−kz

e

−2kh

1

−1

=

−iaω

k

e

−kh

1

(e

−kh

1

+kz

+e

kh

1

−kz

)

e

−kh

1

(e

−kh

1

−e

kh

1

)

=

+iaω

k

e

k(z−h

1

)

+e

−k(z−h

1

)

e

kh

1

−e

−kh

1

=

iaω cosh(k(z −h

1

))

k sinh(kh

1

)

(10.29)

and, similarly,

Z

2

=

−iaω cosh(k(z +h

2

))

k sinh(kh

2

)

. (10.30)

Thus, the velocity potentials become

φ

1

= +

iaω cosh(k(z −h

1

))

k sinh(kh

1

)

cos(kx −ωt) (10.31)

176 10. Internal Waves

0 20 40 60

−15

−10

−5

0

(a.) Streamlines

0 20 40 60

−15

−10

−5

0

(b.) Velocity potential

0 20 40 60

−15

−10

−5

0

(c.) Horizontal velocity

0 20 40 60

−15

−10

−5

0

(d.) Vertical velocity

Fig. 10.2. Solutions for interfacial waves: (a.) shows the streamlines, (b.) shows the related velocity potential,

(c.) shows the horizontal velocity component and (d.) shows the vertical velocity component.

φ

2

= −

iaω cosh(k(z +h

2

))

k sinh(kh

2

)

cos(kx −ωt). (10.32)

As mentioned above, the auxiliary dynamic boundary condition speciﬁes the relationship

between k and ω. Substituting φ

1

, φ

2

and η into (10.16) gives:

ρ

1

ω

2

k

1

tanh (kh

1

)

+ρ

2

ω

2

k

1

tanh (kh

2

)

−g(ρ

2

−ρ

1

) = 0 (10.33)

which is known as the dispersion relation. Thus, (10.31) through (10.33) together with (10.17)

provide a complete solution for our bounded interfacial wave (including internal ﬂuid velocities

through the velocity potential).

Figure 10.2 plots our solution to the internal wave problem. Plot (a.) shows the streamlines

(see the exercises at the end of this chapter); Plot (b.) plots the velocity potential. Plots (c.)

and (d.) plot the horizontal and vertical velocity, respectively. Notice that the horizontal velocity

is discontinuous at the interface, but that the vertical velocity is continuous at the interface and

goes to zero at the edges. Thus, our boundary conditions were accurately reproduced in the

solution.

10.2 Special cases 177

10.2 Special cases

Having the general solution for interfacial waves in the bounded case, we now investigate the

behavior of this solution for a range of special (limiting) cases.

10.2.1 Deep (unbounded) interfacial waves

We ﬁrst consider deep waves in an unbounded domain (h

1

→h

2

→∞). For the general solution

(10.20) not to blow up at ±∞ we have C

1

= D

2

= 0. After applying the interface boundary

conditions, we obtain

φ

1

=

iaω

k

e

−kz+i(kx−ωt)

(10.34)

φ

2

=

−iaω

k

e

kz+i(kx−ωt)

; (10.35)

thus, the hyperbolic functions used in the bounded case to force the vertical velocity to vanish

at the boundaries have become simple exponential functions, e

±kz

. Substituting h

1

→h

2

→∞

into (10.33), the dispersion relation in deep water becomes

ω

2

d

=

gk(ρ

2

−ρ

1

)

ρ

1

+ρ

2

. (10.36)

The phase speed of the wave is found by following a ﬁxed point on the wave form as it

propogates through time. To follow a ﬁxed point we must have the total derivative of η remain

constant, or

dη =

∂η

∂x

dx +

∂η

∂t

dt = 0. (10.37)

Substituting (10.17) for η and rearranging we have

dη

dt

= c =

ω

k

(10.38)

where c is called the phase speed. From our simpliﬁed dispersion relation in deep water (10.36)

the phase speed is

c

d

= ±

¸

g(ρ

2

−ρ

1

)

k(ρ

1

+ρ

2

)

. (10.39)

Surface waves. The dispersion relation for surface water waves in deep water can be obtained

by taking ρ

1

= 0. This gives the familiar deep-water results of

w

s

= ±

_

gk (10.40)

c

s

= ±

_

g

k

. (10.41)

Now it is possible to see where the name dispersion relation comes from. For waves with longer

wavelength, k is smaller and c is larger. Thus, long waves travel faster than short waves. If a

spectrum of waves is generated in one region and permitted to propogate away, the long waves

will move out ahead of the short waves and the wave ﬁeld will sort itself (or disperse) according

to wave length.

178 10. Internal Waves

Boussinesq waves. Another limiting case is the Boussinesq wave, where ρ

1

≈ ρ

2

. In this case,

the denominator of the general solution can be simpliﬁed using an average density, ρ

0

, to give

w

b

= ±

¸

g

k

2

(10.42)

c

b

= ±

¸

g

2k

. (10.43)

where g

**is the reduced gravity, g(ρ
**

2

−ρ

1

)/ρ

0

. Hence, the internal Boussinesq waves travel slower

than surface waves due to the buoyant eﬀect of g

.

10.2.2 Shallow internal waves.

Shallow water waves are deﬁned by kh →0 such that tanh(kh) →kh. As a rule-of-thumb, this

approximation is valid for kh ≤ 0.5, or λ ≥ 4πh. For this case the phase speed becomes

c

sh

= ±

¸

gh

1

h

2

(ρ

2

−ρ

1

)

ρ

1

h

2

+ρ

2

h

1

. (10.44)

Since c

sh

does not depend on k, shallow water waves are not dispersive.

10.3 Eﬀects of a free surface

We now relax the rigid lid boundary condition and consider the eﬀects of a free surface. In the

analysis so far, we applied the unsteady Bernoulli equation at the interface a obtain a dispersion

relation that is second order in ω. By adding the free surface, we must apply this boundary

condition a second time, and after working through the algebra, we obtain a dispersion relation

of the form

ω

4

= f(k, h

1

, h

2

, ∆ρ/ρ). (10.45)

For the rigid lid case, we obtained two solutions (i.e. c = ±

√

gh) which actually correspond to

one mode of behavior—waves travel with a single speed but in two directions. The four solutions

given by equation (10.45), therefore, can be grouped into two diﬀerent modes of behavior, each

with waves traveling in two directions. These two modes of behavior have many names, but here

we will distinguish them by their wave speeds and call them the “fast” mode and “slow” mode.

10.3.1 Fast mode

Assuming long, Boussinesq waves, the fast-mode solution to (10.45) simpliﬁes to

c

2

= g(h

1

+h

2

)

= gH. (10.46)

where H is the total water depth h

1

+ h

2

. Figure 10.3 shows this mode in the upper panel

using another name for this mode: the external mode. This name arises from the fact that the

10.3 Eﬀects of a free surface 179

a.) External Mode.

b.) Internal Mode.

Fig. 10.3. Deﬁnition sketches for the two modes of behavior for the dispersion relation with a free surface.

dominant wave is the surface, or external, wave. Because this solution is independent of the

density diﬀerences between layers, we say that the fast mode solution behaves as if the water

body is unstratiﬁed.

Another property of this solution is that the pressure is constant along lines of constant

density. Systems with this property are called barotropic; thus, this is also called the barotropic

mode. Because the internal and surface waves move in phase, this can also be called the sinuous

mode. Each of the terms used to name this mode draw out a diﬀerent property of this solution,

but all of these terms are referring to this single, fast mode of behavior.

10.3.2 Slow mode

The other solution to (10.45) for long, Boussinesq waves simpliﬁes to

c

2

= g

h

1

h

2

h

1

+h

2

= g

h

1

h

2

H

. (10.47)

Because the gravity term in (10.47) is g

**, which is small, the wave speeds for this mode are
**

much slower than for the external mode, hence, the terms fast and slow modes. The lower panel

in Figure 10.3 shows this mode, referred to by another name: the internal mode. Because the

internal wave motion is much greater than the surface expression of this mode, this mode is also

called the internal mode.

180 10. Internal Waves

L

Fig. 10.4. Sketch of a standing wave for the internal wave mode.

In contrast to the fast mode, the pressure varies along lines of constant density. Systems with

this kind of forcing are called baroclinic; hence, this mode is also called the baroclinic mode.

Because the internal and surface waves are 180

◦

out of phase, this mode can also be called the

varicose mode.

As the ﬁgure also illustrates, the surface motion for the internal mode is very small in com-

parison to the internal wave motion. This behavior is what allows us to apply results obtained

with the rigid lid approximation to systems with a free surface for the internal mode.

10.4 Eﬀects of lateral boundaries: Standing waves

In natural water bodies, such as lakes and reservoirs, lateral boundaries are also present. Waves

that encounter these boundaries are reﬂected, and the returning waves must be superposed with

the initial wave train.

Under certain conditions, the reﬂected and progressive waves match in such a way that the

waves appear to stand still—the waves move up and down, but do not appear to progress. Such

waves are called standing waves. Figure 10.4 illustrates this situation for the internal, slow wave

mode. The condition for standing waves is some integral number of half wave-lengths must ﬁt

within the bounded basin. Stated mathematically, we have

L =

nλ

2

(10.48)

where λ is the wave length. The possible associated wave numbers are, then

k =

2π

λ

=

nπ

L

(10.49)

Since wave speed c is c = ω/k, the associated wave speed and wave periods for standing waves

are

c =

2L

nT

(10.50)

and

T =

2L

nc

, (10.51)

10.4 Eﬀects of lateral boundaries: Standing waves 181

a

s

a

i

τ

w

f

l

f

r

L

Fig. 10.5. Sketch of the set-up generated by the wind which becomes the initial condition for seiching motion.

respectively.

Substituting the results for the internal and external wave speeds given above into the stand-

ing wave period given in (10.51) gives

T

e

=

2L

n

√

gH

(10.52)

for the external mode and

T

i

=

2L

n

_

g

h

1

h

2

H

(10.53)

for the internal mode. Thus, we see again that the internal mode is much slower than the external

mode.

10.4.1 Lake seiches

Seiches are basin-scale standing waves which can be either external or internal mode solutions.

The word “seiche” comes from the French for waves and was ﬁrst applied to basin-scale surface

waves in Lake Geneva.

Seiches are generated by the wind. When the wind blows, water piles up on the downwind

side. This generates circulating currents in the lake due to pressure imbalances. This condition

while the wind is blowing is shown in Figure 10.5 and is called the wind set-up. When the wind

stops, the surface moves back down and undergoes period wave-like motion. Because the set-up

is like half a wave length, the waves generated are generally standing waves with n = 1.

To calculate the degree of set-up, consider a force balance on the lake. During the wind setup,

the water body is held in the position shown in Figure 10.5, and the total external force acting

in the x-direction must be zero. The forces are the hydrostatic force on the left F

l

and right F

r

and the force due to the wind on the surface τ

w

A, where A is the area over which tau

w

is acting.

Taking a unit width into the page, the force balance in the x-direction becomes:

ΣF

x

= F

r

−F

l

−τ

w

L = 0 (10.54)

where L is the length of lake along which the wind acts. To calculate F

l

and F

r

, we make the

Boussinesq approximation and treat the water density as a constant rho. Then, the hydrostatic

pressure distribution gives

182 10. Internal Waves

F

l

=

1

2

ρg(H −a

s

)(H −a

s

) (10.55)

F

r

=

1

2

ρg(H +a

s

)(H +a

s

) (10.56)

where a

s

is the setup height. Substituting into (10.54), gives

2ρga

s

H −τ

w

L = 0

a

s

=

2τ

w

L

ρgH

(10.57)

For order-of-magnitude estimates, τ

w

may be estimated by τ

w

10

−3

ρ

air

U

2

10

, where U

10

is the

air velocity at 10 m height above the lake. Since the pressure on the water surface is everywhere

zero, this set-up condition is called the barotropic forcing.

In response to this surface set-up, the interface sets-down in order to give a uniform pressure

on the bottom. The pressure at the bottom on the down-wind side is

P

2

= ρ

1

g(h

1

+a

s

+a

i

) +ρ

2

g(h

2

−a

i

) (10.58)

and the pressure at the up-wind side on the bottom is

P

1

= ρ

1

g(h

1

−a

s

−a

i

) +ρ

2

g(h

2

+a

i

). (10.59)

Equating these two pressures gives

a

s

=

∆ρ

ρ

a

i

. (10.60)

Thus we see that the surface set-up is much smaller than the internal adjustment since ∆ρ/ρ

is small. Since the pressure on the interface is not a constant, the set-down response is called

baroclinic adjustment. When the wind stops, this set-up and set-down situation becomes the

initial condition for seiche motion. The seiche period and wave speed are computed from the

dispersion relation using the wave number.

10.5 Internal waves in continuous stratiﬁcation

Although many situations can be approximated as two-layered systems, density gradients in

nature are always continuous, and we stop here to consider the eﬀects of continuous stratiﬁcation

on wave propagation. In a lake, for instance, the waves at the interface can be approximated

by the two-layer model; whereas, internal waves in the hypolimnion are more aﬀected by the

continuous stratiﬁcation in the lower layer. Since the upper layer is mixed, internal waves do

not form in the epilimnion.

There are two major diﬀerences between the analysis in continuous stratiﬁcation and the

analysis presented above. First, we cannot make the irrotational ﬂow assumption in a con-

tinuously stratiﬁed medium; thus, we cannot deﬁne a velocity potential. Second, because the

medium has vertical density variation, waves can travel horizontally along isopicnals and verti-

cally along the density gradient. Figure 10.6 illustrates such a wave phenomenon. To describe

the two-dimensional waves we require a two-dimensional wave number, namely

10.5 Internal waves in continuous stratiﬁcation 183

Fig. 10.6. Sketch of internal waves in continuous stratiﬁcation. The solid lines show the horizontal motion and

the dashed lines show the vertical motion.

k = kı +m (10.61)

where the horizontal wave length λ

h

= 2π/k and the vertical wave length λ

v

= 2π/m.

We have similar governing equations to the two-layered case. For the conservation of mass of

an incompressible ﬂuid we have

∂u

∂x

+

∂w

∂z

= 0. (10.62)

The momentum conservation equation is written for the linearized inviscid case using the Boussi-

nesq approximation yielding

∂u

∂t

+

1

ρ

∂p

∂x

= 0 (10.63)

∂w

∂t

+

1

ρ

∂p

∂z

+g

= 0. (10.64)

This gives us three equations in the four unknowns u, w, ρ, and p

**. The fourth equation comes
**

from the linearized density conservation equation:

Dρ

Dt

= 0

∂ρ

∂t

+w

∂ρ

∂z

= 0

∂g

∂t

−N

2

w = 0 (10.65)

where we have multiplied the ﬁrst equation by g/ρ to obtain the ﬁnal result.

Solving this system of equations with the appropriate boundary conditions leads to a new

dispersion relation given by

184 10. Internal Waves

ω

2

= N

2

k

2

k

2

+m

2

. (10.66)

Since the term k

2

/(k

2

+ m

2

) is less than or equal to one, the excitation frequency, ω, must be

less than or equal to N. When ω > N no wave exists and the excitation is locally dissipated by

mixing.

Now we can consider the two-dimensional propogation of the wave relative to the excitation

vector. Consider horizontal excitation

ω = ωı. (10.67)

The angle, θ, between the excitation and the wave number is given by the dot product k · ω

such that

cos θ =

k · ω

|k||ω|

=

¸

k

2

k

2

+m

2

=

ω

N

. (10.68)

Here, we see again that for ω > N there cannot be a wave since the cos θ does not exist.

10.5.1 Slow excitation

For slow excitation frequencies we have ω N and cos θ ≈ 0. In this case the wave propogation

is perpendicular to the excitation direction. This can lead to the formation of absorption layers

described below. The slow excitation caused by internal seiche currents interacting with the

boundary, for instance, can generate wave trains that propogate into the lake body.

10.5.2 Eigenfrequency excitation

Forcing the system at the Eigenfrequency means ω = N and cos θ ≈ 1. In this case the wave

propogation is in the same direction as the excitation. This can lead to the formation of reﬂection

layers discussed below.

10.5.3 Fast excitation

Fast excitation is for frequencies above the stratiﬁcation frequency: ω > N and cos θ does not

exist. We pause here to consider why waves do not exist for this case. We know that the buoyancy

frequency N is the oscillation frequency of the stratiﬁcation. If we force the system faster than

this frequency that means we are trying to get the system to swing faster than it can; hence, no

waves form. This is like the child on a swing who is pumping his legs very fast. To get the swing

to move he must pump at or below the Eigenfrequency of the swing pendulum.

10.5 Internal waves in continuous stratiﬁcation 185

Wave propagation ray

z

ρ

z

N

ω = N

Inversion layer

Fig. 10.7. Sketch of internal waves in the atmosphere. The upper two plots show the density and buoyancy

frequency variation. The lower diagram shows the wave propagation ray for a given disturbance frequency ω,

which depends on the wind speed, the mountain shape, and the stratiﬁcation.

10.5.4 Waves in non-linear stratiﬁcation

If the stratiﬁcation is non-linear, then there is a variation of N over the depth. Consider, then, a

given excitation frequency ω. If we apply this excitation in a region where ω > N, then no waves

will form. If we apply this excitation in a region where ω < N, waves form and propogate at

an angle θ to the excitation vector given by (10.68). As these waves propogate, they encounter

ﬂuid with diﬀerent N and the wave rays bend. When the waves encounter a layer where ω = N

they are reﬂected back to where they came from. When waves move into a layer where ω N

they move parallel to this layer and become trapped. Figure 10.7 illustrates the situation for

atmospheric internal waves above mountains in an inversion layer.

Summary

This chapter introduced wave motion in stratiﬁed water bodies. The simple case of two im-

miscible layers bounded above and below was treated ﬁrst in detail. The result of the analysis

is the dispersion relation, which gives the relationship between wave speed and wave number.

186 10. Internal Waves

Limiting cases were also investigated that show simpliﬁed versions of the dispersion relation.

The boundary at the top was then removed and the new dispersion relation introduced. Because

internal wave motion has only a very small surface expression, the bounded results are shown

to agree well with the unbounded solution. Finally, the eﬀects of continuous stratiﬁcation were

introduced, in particular, the fact that waves travel in two dimensions.

Exercises

10.1 Dispersion relations. Show that the shallow water wave approximation leads to c = ±

√

gH

for surface waves and c = ±

_

g

h

1

h

2

/(h

1

+h

2

) for Boussinesq waves.

10.2 Streamlines. Calculate the stream function, ψ, for the bounded internal wave case and

show that the streamlines are deﬁned by

z

1

=

1

k

sinh

−1

_

−

Sk

aω

sinh(kh

1

)e

−i(kx−ωt)

_

+h

1

(10.69)

z

2

=

1

k

sinh

−1

_

+

Sk

aω

sinh(kh

2

)e

−i(kx−ωt)

_

−h

2

(10.70)

where S is constant along a streamline.

10.3 Lake seiches. Calculate the wave period for the ﬁrst and second internal and external

modes for a lake of length L = 3 km, depth H = 30 m, mixed layer depth h

1

= 3 m, upper

layer temperature of T

1

= 22

◦

C, and bottom layer temperature of T

2

= 10

◦

C. If each wave is

damped after 7 wave periods, how long does the external and internal wave last? What is the

Eigenfrequency of the ﬁrst internal wave mode?

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we have four boundary conditions in each layer for a total of eight boundary conditions. our governing equations are 2 2 φ1 = 0.2) The ﬁnal result (10. Because we assume that each layer is irrotational. Internal Waves z h1 ρ1 φ1 η(x. This condition is satisﬁed implicitly by selecting a periodic general solution. we can deﬁne independent velocity potentials in each layer. Four of the boundary conditions (two in each layer) and both initial conditions are satisﬁed by so-called behavioral boundary conditions (see Boyd (1989) for a detailed description of such boundary conditions).t) x h2 -z ρ2 φ2 laterally unbounded Fig. Since our governing equations are second-order in two spatial coordinates.1) ∂x ∂z where u is the horizontal velocity and w is the vertical velocity in the ﬂuid. which introduces a ﬁrst-order derivative in time. The boundary condition statement is: the solution must be periodic in space and time. such that ∂φ ∂φ . which you may have encountered previously in heat transfer and the analysis of electric and magnetic ﬁeld potentials. ∂x2 ∂z (10.172 10. Hence.1. Deﬁnition sketch for bounded interfacial waves. (10. 10. φ2 = 0. a velocity potential. .4) The next step is to specify the boundary and intial conditions. Substituting φ into the mass conservation equation for an incompressible ﬂuid we obtain u= ∂ui =0 ∂xi ∂u ∂w + =0 ∂x ∂z ∂2φ ∂2φ + 2 = 0.2) is known as the Laplace equation (also written as 2 φ = 0). φ. w= (10. We also must satisfy momentum conservation (applied later as an auxiliary condition at the interface).3) (10. thus. for a total of two initial conditions. we also have one initial condition for each layer.

To express this condition mathematically. ∂z z=−h2 (10. namely ∂φ1 = 0. U0 is a characteristic ﬂuid velocity and the variables denoted by ∗ are the new non-dimensional variables. Since we have vertical velocities in both layers. the kinematic boundary condition is ∂η =w (10. Hence. this condition can be applied twice giving us . To simplify this equation we write it in non-dimensional form using the transformation variables x = λx∗ u = U0 u ∗ t= a ∗ U0 t z = az ∗ w = U0 w ∗ where λ is the wave length.10) ∂t which says that the vertical velocity of the ﬂuid at the interface must equal the velocity of the interface.9) ∂t λ ∂x where we have dropped the stars to simplify the notation. ∂z z=+h1 ∂φ2 = 0. The remaining two boundary conditions come from the kinematic condition at the interface: ﬂuid particles can only move tangentially to the ﬂuid interface. This method of approximation is called linearization. so we can say F = 0 as we follow the ﬂuid along the streamline of the interface.6) The rigid boundary condition for the upper boundary is often used as an approximation for the free surface boundary condition. Further.1 Bounded interfacial waves 173 Two more boundary conditions are obtained from the bounded domain: the vertical velocity must vanish at the upper and lower bounds.8) ∂t at z = η. Writing this Lagrangian reference frame statement in the Eulerian reference frame gives ∂F +u· F =0 (10. The interface location zi is deﬁned by the function F = zi − η(x. a is the wave amplitude. This condition provides one boundary condition for each layer.7) where η(x.10.1). The interface itself is also a streamline. Substituting. we can apply the linearized condition at z = 0 instead of z = η. we must consider the interface between the two ﬂuids in more detail. and we can neglect the non-linear convective term. t) is the interface disturbance (refer to Figure 10. For small-amplitude waves a λ. t) = 0 (10. Such an approximation is called the rigid lid approximation.5) (10. we obtain ∂η a ∂η + u =w (10.

we specify the interface motion as η(x. we obtain the following ordinary diﬀerential equation for Zj : ∂ 2 Zj − k 2 Zj = 0. This provides a dynamic boundary condition at the ﬂuid interface: the normal stress of the ﬂuid must be continuous across the interface (Drazin 2002). we must supply the initial conditions by enforcing momentum conservation.17) where k and ω are the interfacial wave number and frequency. respectively. ∂z 2 (10. the system response must have the same periodicity. Substituting (10. For an inviscid ﬂuid.11) (10.4) given the above boundary and initial conditions. z=0 (10. we have ρ ρ1 ∂φ1 ∂t = ρ2 z=0 ∂φ2 ∂t z=0 + gη(ρ2 − ρ1 ). Internal Waves ∂φ1 ∂z ∂φ2 ∂z z=0 z=0 ∂η ∂t ∂η = ∂t = .19) . this means that the pressure is continuous at the interface. 2 is the ﬂuid layer and where we have written the periodicity in terms of a cosine function through the use of implied real-part operators (recall cos(αx) = Re(eiαx ) = Re(cos(αx) + i sin(αx))).18) into the Laplace equation. In other words. thus. This equation is also known as the unsteady Bernoulli equation.15) ∂t where C0 is an integration constant. t) = a cos(kx − ωt) (10. Since we are interested in simple harmonic motion. we seek solutions of the form φj = Zj (z)ei(kx−ωt) (10.13) where D/Dt is the material derivative operator. we have Dw 1 ∂p =− −g Dt ρ ∂z (10. Taking the inviscid momentum equation in the vertical direction. It is now possible to solve (10. our behavioral boundary condition cannot have arbitrary periodicity in space and time.16) This equation speciﬁes the relationship between the spatial and temporal periodicity in the behavioral boundary conditions. Since we have linearized the equations. ρ ∂z (10.3) and (10. (10. using the separation of variables technique. z=0 Finally.18) where j = 1. and must be constant along a streamline.174 10. Selecting the interface of the ﬂuids as the streamline and recognizing p1 = p2 at the interface.14) We can now integrate with respect to z to obtain ∂φ + p + ρgz = C0 (10.12) . Substituting the velocity potential and linearizing the convective terms of the material derivative leaves ∂ ∂z ∂φ ∂t =− 1 ∂p − g.

18) into the boundary conditions on the ﬁxed boundaries.18) into the kinematic boundary conditions at the interface.21) (10. Z2 = −iaω cosh(k(z + h2 )) . we obtain −iaωe−2kh1 k(e−2kh1 − 1) −iaωe2kh2 C2 = k(e2kh2 − 1) −iaω D1 = −2kh1 − 1) k(e −iaω D2 = .29) Thus.25) (10. k sinh(kh2 ) iaω cosh(k(z − h1 )) cos(kx − ωt) k sinh(kh1 ) (10.31) .27) (10.23) k −iaω C2 − D2 = . similarly. the velocity potentials become φ1 = + (10.22) (10.1 Bounded interfacial waves 175 The general solution of (10. 2kh2 − 1) k(e C1 = Z1 = (10.10.28) Substituting into (10. (10. C2 ke−kh2 − D2 kekh2 = 0.24) k Solving this system of four equations in four unknowns.20) Substituting (10.17) and (10. we have C1 kekh1 − D1 ke−kh1 = 0.26) (10.30) (10. (10. Substituting (10.20) and showing the algebra. we have −iaωe−2kh1 +kz −iaωe−kz + k(e−2kh1 − 1) k(e−2kh1 − 1) −2kh1 +kz + e−kz −iaω e = k e−2kh1 − 1 −iaω e−kh1 (e−kh1 +kz + ekh1 −kz ) = k e−kh1 (e−kh1 − ekh1 ) +iaω ek(z−h1 ) + e−k(z−h1 ) k ekh1 − e−kh1 iaω cosh(k(z − h1 )) = k sinh(kh1 ) = and. (10.19) is Zj (z) = Cj ekz + Dj e−kz where k is positive by deﬁnition. we have −iaω C1 − D1 = .

) shows the streamlines.2. Plots (c. φ2 = − iaω cosh(k(z + h2 )) cos(kx − ωt). Plot (a.32) As mentioned above.) shows the streamlines (see the exercises at the end of this chapter).2 plots our solution to the internal wave problem.) Vertical velocity 0 0 −5 −5 −10 −10 −15 0 20 40 60 −15 0 20 40 60 Fig.176 10. Thus.17) provide a complete solution for our bounded interfacial wave (including internal ﬂuid velocities through the velocity potential). our boundary conditions were accurately reproduced in the solution. Notice that the horizontal velocity is discontinuous at the interface.) plot the horizontal and vertical velocity. k sinh(kh2 ) (10. (c. 10.) shows the horizontal velocity component and (d. Plot (b.) Horizontal velocity (d. Internal Waves (a. Substituting φ1 . respectively.31) through (10.) shows the vertical velocity component. (10.33) together with (10. Figure 10.16) gives: ρ1 ω2 1 ω2 1 + ρ2 − g(ρ2 − ρ1 ) = 0 k tanh (kh1 ) k tanh (kh2 ) (10. Thus. (b. φ2 and η into (10.) plots the velocity potential. . but that the vertical velocity is continuous at the interface and goes to zero at the edges.) Velocity potential 0 0 −5 −5 −10 −10 −15 0 20 40 60 −15 0 20 40 60 (c. the auxiliary dynamic boundary condition speciﬁes the relationship between k and ω.) shows the related velocity potential.) and (d.33) which is known as the dispersion relation. Solutions for interfacial waves: (a.) Streamlines (b.

39) Surface waves. (10. we now investigate the behavior of this solution for a range of special (limiting) cases.2 Special cases 177 10.2. . For the general solution (10.2 Special cases Having the general solution for interfacial waves in the bounded case. (10.37) ∂x ∂t Substituting (10. This gives the familiar deep-water results of ws = ± gk (10. Thus. (10. 10.1 Deep (unbounded) interfacial waves We ﬁrst consider deep waves in an unbounded domain (h1 → h2 → ∞).36) the phase speed is cd = ± g(ρ2 − ρ1 ) . the long waves will move out ahead of the short waves and the wave ﬁeld will sort itself (or disperse) according to wave length. long waves travel faster than short waves. From our simpliﬁed dispersion relation in deep water (10.38) dt k where c is called the phase speed. After applying the interface boundary conditions. k is smaller and c is larger. e±kz . we obtain iaω −kz+i(kx−ωt) e (10. (10. Substituting h1 → h2 → ∞ into (10.17) for η and rearranging we have 2 ωd = dη ω =c= (10.35) k thus. To follow a ﬁxed point we must have the total derivative of η remain constant.34) k −iaω kz+i(kx−ωt) φ2 = e . the hyperbolic functions used in the bounded case to force the vertical velocity to vanish at the boundaries have become simple exponential functions.36) ρ1 + ρ2 The phase speed of the wave is found by following a ﬁxed point on the wave form as it propogates through time. the dispersion relation in deep water becomes φ1 = gk(ρ2 − ρ1 ) . For waves with longer wavelength.20) not to blow up at ±∞ we have C1 = D2 = 0.10. The dispersion relation for surface water waves in deep water can be obtained by taking ρ1 = 0. or ∂η ∂η dη = dx + dt = 0.33). If a spectrum of waves is generated in one region and permitted to propogate away.41) k Now it is possible to see where the name dispersion relation comes from. k(ρ1 + ρ2 ) (10.40) g cs = ± .

(10. As a rule-of-thumb.3 shows this mode in the upper panel using another name for this mode: the external mode. 10. ρ0 . 10.1 Fast mode Assuming long.44) Since csh does not depend on k. h1 . can be grouped into two diﬀerent modes of behavior. These two modes of behavior have many names.45). we obtain a dispersion relation of the form ω 4 = f (k. but here we will distinguish them by their wave speeds and call them the “fast” mode and “slow” mode.178 10.5. we obtained two solutions (i. the internal Boussinesq waves travel slower than surface waves due to the buoyant eﬀect of g .e. In this case. ∆ρ/ρ). 10. The four solutions given by equation (10. Another limiting case is the Boussinesq wave.46) where H is the total water depth h1 + h2 . Internal Waves Boussinesq waves. the fast-mode solution to (10. Hence. the denominator of the general solution can be simpliﬁed using an average density. Shallow water waves are deﬁned by kh → 0 such that tanh(kh) → kh. 2k (10. or λ ≥ 4πh. g(ρ2 − ρ1 )/ρ0 . For this case the phase speed becomes csh = ± gh1 h2 (ρ2 − ρ1 ) . this approximation is valid for kh ≤ 0. √ (10.43) where g is the reduced gravity.2. shallow water waves are not dispersive. Figure 10. and after working through the algebra. In the analysis so far. we must apply this boundary condition a second time. therefore.3 Eﬀects of a free surface We now relax the rigid lid boundary condition and consider the eﬀects of a free surface.42) (10. to give wb = ± cb = ± gk 2 g . c = ± gh) which actually correspond to one mode of behavior—waves travel with a single speed but in two directions. By adding the free surface. each with waves traveling in two directions.3. Boussinesq waves. h2 .45) For the rigid lid case. ρ1 h2 + ρ2 h1 (10.2 Shallow internal waves. we applied the unsteady Bernoulli equation at the interface a obtain a dispersion relation that is second order in ω.45) simpliﬁes to c2 = g(h1 + h2 ) = gH. This name arises from the fact that the . where ρ1 ≈ ρ2 .

10. Another property of this solution is that the pressure is constant along lines of constant density.3 Eﬀects of a free surface 179 a.2 Slow mode The other solution to (10.) Internal Mode.45) for long. Because the internal wave motion is much greater than the surface expression of this mode.3.47) is g . which is small. (10. Each of the terms used to name this mode draw out a diﬀerent property of this solution. this is also called the barotropic mode. dominant wave is the surface. thus. Boussinesq waves simpliﬁes to h1 h2 h1 + h2 h1 h2 =g . Systems with this property are called barotropic. but all of these terms are referring to this single. this can also be called the sinuous mode. fast mode of behavior. or external. Fig. this mode is also called the internal mode.3 shows this mode.) External Mode. the terms fast and slow modes.3. referred to by another name: the internal mode. wave.10. Because this solution is independent of the density diﬀerences between layers.47) H Because the gravity term in (10. The lower panel in Figure 10. hence. the wave speeds for this mode are much slower than for the external mode. b. 10. we say that the fast mode solution behaves as if the water body is unstratiﬁed. c2 = g . Because the internal and surface waves move in phase. Deﬁnition sketches for the two modes of behavior for the dispersion relation with a free surface.

the associated wave speed and wave periods for standing waves are 2L c= (10.4. As the ﬁgure also illustrates. The possible associated wave numbers are.48) L= 2 where λ is the wave length. the reﬂected and progressive waves match in such a way that the waves appear to stand still—the waves move up and down. Because the internal and surface waves are 180◦ out of phase. Under certain conditions. but do not appear to progress. lateral boundaries are also present. this mode can also be called the varicose mode. this mode is also called the baroclinic mode. The condition for standing waves is some integral number of half wave-lengths must ﬁt within the bounded basin. This behavior is what allows us to apply results obtained with the rigid lid approximation to systems with a free surface for the internal mode. then 2π λ nπ = (10.4 Eﬀects of lateral boundaries: Standing waves In natural water bodies. 10.50) nT and 2L T = . 10. we have nλ (10.51) nc k= . Systems with this kind of forcing are called baroclinic.4 illustrates this situation for the internal. the surface motion for the internal mode is very small in comparison to the internal wave motion. (10.180 10. Such waves are called standing waves. Waves that encounter these boundaries are reﬂected. Sketch of a standing wave for the internal wave mode.49) L Since wave speed c is c = ω/k. Figure 10. Stated mathematically. Internal Waves L Fig. hence. such as lakes and reservoirs. the pressure varies along lines of constant density. slow wave mode. In contrast to the fast mode. and the returning waves must be superposed with the initial wave train.

respectively. the water body is held in the position shown in Figure 10.53) for the internal mode.51) gives 2L Te = √ n gH for the external mode and 2L Ti = n g h1 h2 H (10. 10. To calculate Fl and Fr . The forces are the hydrostatic force on the left Fl and right Fr and the force due to the wind on the surface τw A. Then.1 Lake seiches Seiches are basin-scale standing waves which can be either external or internal mode solutions.10.5 and is called the wind set-up. where A is the area over which tauw is acting.4 Eﬀects of lateral boundaries: Standing waves 181 τw as fl ai fr L Fig. Taking a unit width into the page. When the wind stops. water piles up on the downwind side. Because the set-up is like half a wave length.4. Substituting the results for the internal and external wave speeds given above into the standing wave period given in (10. consider a force balance on the lake. we make the Boussinesq approximation and treat the water density as a constant rho. 10. This condition while the wind is blowing is shown in Figure 10. During the wind setup.5. To calculate the degree of set-up.54) where L is the length of lake along which the wind acts. the waves generated are generally standing waves with n = 1. The word “seiche” comes from the French for waves and was ﬁrst applied to basin-scale surface waves in Lake Geneva.5. Seiches are generated by the wind.52) (10. This generates circulating currents in the lake due to pressure imbalances. Thus. Sketch of the set-up generated by the wind which becomes the initial condition for seiching motion. the hydrostatic pressure distribution gives . the force balance in the x-direction becomes: ΣFx = Fr − Fl − τw L = 0 (10. the surface moves back down and undergoes period wave-like motion. and the total external force acting in the x-direction must be zero. When the wind blows. we see again that the internal mode is much slower than the external mode.

In response to this surface set-up. Internal Waves 1 Fl = ρg(H − as )(H − as ) 2 1 Fr = ρg(H + as )(H + as ) 2 where as is the setup height. 10. In a lake. ρ (10.60) Thus we see that the surface set-up is much smaller than the internal adjustment since ∆ρ/ρ is small. we cannot make the irrotational ﬂow assumption in a continuously stratiﬁed medium. Since the pressure on the interface is not a constant. we cannot deﬁne a velocity potential. The pressure at the bottom on the down-wind side is P2 = ρ1 g(h1 + as + ai ) + ρ2 g(h2 − ai ) and the pressure at the up-wind side on the bottom is P1 = ρ1 g(h1 − as − ai ) + ρ2 g(h2 + ai ). Substituting into (10. To describe the two-dimensional waves we require a two-dimensional wave number. the interface sets-down in order to give a uniform pressure on the bottom. density gradients in nature are always continuous. where U10 is the air velocity at 10 m height above the lake. this set-up condition is called the barotropic forcing.55) (10. namely .58) (10. the set-down response is called baroclinic adjustment. whereas.56) (10.54). thus. Equating these two pressures gives as = ∆ρ ai .182 10.57) 2 For order-of-magnitude estimates. τw may be estimated by τw 10−3 ρair U10 . the waves at the interface can be approximated by the two-layer model. Since the upper layer is mixed. this set-up and set-down situation becomes the initial condition for seiche motion. There are two major diﬀerences between the analysis in continuous stratiﬁcation and the analysis presented above. waves can travel horizontally along isopicnals and vertically along the density gradient. Since the pressure on the water surface is everywhere zero. gives 2ρgas H − τw L = 0 2τw L as = ρgH (10. First. When the wind stops. and we stop here to consider the eﬀects of continuous stratiﬁcation on wave propagation. internal waves do not form in the epilimnion.59) (10.5 Internal waves in continuous stratiﬁcation Although many situations can be approximated as two-layered systems.6 illustrates such a wave phenomenon. The seiche period and wave speed are computed from the dispersion relation using the wave number. internal waves in the hypolimnion are more aﬀected by the continuous stratiﬁcation in the lower layer. Second. for instance. because the medium has vertical density variation. Figure 10.

The fourth equation comes from the linearized density conservation equation: Dρ =0 Dt ∂ρ ∂ρ +w =0 ∂t ∂z ∂g − N 2w = 0 (10. 10.10. ∂t ρ ∂z (10. ρ. (10.6.65) ∂t where we have multiplied the ﬁrst equation by g/ρ to obtain the ﬁnal result. We have similar governing equations to the two-layered case.62) ∂x ∂z The momentum conservation equation is written for the linearized inviscid case using the Boussinesq approximation yielding ∂u 1 ∂p + =0 ∂t ρ ∂x ∂w 1 ∂p + + g = 0. Solving this system of equations with the appropriate boundary conditions leads to a new dispersion relation given by . Sketch of internal waves in continuous stratiﬁcation. and p . The solid lines show the horizontal motion and the dashed lines show the vertical motion.64) This gives us three equations in the four unknowns u. w. k = kı + m (10.61) where the horizontal wave length λh = 2π/k and the vertical wave length λv = 2π/m.5 Internal waves in continuous stratiﬁcation 183 Fig.63) (10. For the conservation of mass of an incompressible ﬂuid we have ∂u ∂w + = 0.

2 Eigenfrequency excitation Forcing the system at the Eigenfrequency means ω = N and cos θ ≈ 1. The slow excitation caused by internal seiche currents interacting with the boundary. Internal Waves ω2 = N 2 k2 . In this case the wave propogation is in the same direction as the excitation. θ.68) N Here. This is like the child on a swing who is pumping his legs very fast. Consider horizontal excitation ω = ωı. we see again that for ω > N there cannot be a wave since the cos θ does not exist. no waves form.5.5.5. for instance. (10. can generate wave trains that propogate into the lake body. Now we can consider the two-dimensional propogation of the wave relative to the excitation vector. hence. . We know that the buoyancy frequency N is the oscillation frequency of the stratiﬁcation. When ω > N no wave exists and the excitation is locally dissipated by mixing. between the excitation and the wave number is given by the dot product k · ω such that k·ω cos θ = |k||ω| = = k2 k 2 + m2 ω . If we force the system faster than this frequency that means we are trying to get the system to swing faster than it can. (10. 10.3 Fast excitation Fast excitation is for frequencies above the stratiﬁcation frequency: ω > N and cos θ does not exist. ω. This can lead to the formation of absorption layers described below. the excitation frequency.184 10. We pause here to consider why waves do not exist for this case.67) The angle. This can lead to the formation of reﬂection layers discussed below.1 Slow excitation For slow excitation frequencies we have ω N and cos θ ≈ 0. k 2 + m2 (10. To get the swing to move he must pump at or below the Eigenfrequency of the swing pendulum. In this case the wave propogation is perpendicular to the excitation direction. must be less than or equal to N .66) Since the term k 2 /(k 2 + m2 ) is less than or equal to one. 10. 10.

the mountain shape. Figure 10.4 Waves in non-linear stratiﬁcation If the stratiﬁcation is non-linear. If we apply this excitation in a region where ω < N . The simple case of two immiscible layers bounded above and below was treated ﬁrst in detail. When the waves encounter a layer where ω = N they are reﬂected back to where they came from. waves form and propogate at an angle θ to the excitation vector given by (10. which depends on the wind speed. Summary This chapter introduced wave motion in stratiﬁed water bodies. and the stratiﬁcation.68). The upper two plots show the density and buoyancy frequency variation.7 illustrates the situation for atmospheric internal waves above mountains in an inversion layer. then.5 Internal waves in continuous stratiﬁcation 185 z z Inversion layer ρ N ω=N Wave propagation ray Fig.10. then there is a variation of N over the depth. When waves move into a layer where ω N they move parallel to this layer and become trapped. . then no waves will form. If we apply this excitation in a region where ω > N . As these waves propogate. Consider. a given excitation frequency ω.5. 10.7. The result of the analysis is the dispersion relation. Sketch of internal waves in the atmosphere. which gives the relationship between wave speed and wave number. 10. The lower diagram shows the wave propagation ray for a given disturbance frequency ω. they encounter ﬂuid with diﬀerent N and the wave rays bend.

mixed layer depth h1 = 3 m. in particular. 10. Finally.1 Dispersion relations. Calculate the stream function. how long does the external and internal wave last? What is the Eigenfrequency of the ﬁrst internal wave mode? (10. the fact that waves travel in two dimensions. If each wave is damped after 7 wave periods. Internal Waves Limiting cases were also investigated that show simpliﬁed versions of the dispersion relation.69) (10. the eﬀects of continuous stratiﬁcation were introduced. Exercises √ 10. the bounded results are shown to agree well with the unbounded solution. ψ. depth H = 30 m. and bottom layer temperature of T2 = 10 ◦ C. Calculate the wave period for the ﬁrst and second internal and external modes for a lake of length L = 3 km. 10. Show that the shallow water wave approximation leads to c = ± gH for surface waves and c = ± g h1 h2 /(h1 + h2 ) for Boussinesq waves. upper layer temperature of T1 = 22 ◦ C.70) . Because internal wave motion has only a very small surface expression. for the bounded internal wave case and show that the streamlines are deﬁned by Sk 1 sinh−1 − sinh(kh1 )e−i(kx−ωt) + h1 k aω 1 Sk z2 = sinh−1 + sinh(kh2 )e−i(kx−ωt) − h2 k aω z1 = where S is constant along a streamline.186 10. The boundary at the top was then removed and the new dispersion relation introduced.2 Streamlines.3 Lake seiches.

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