Articles | Volume 10, issue 4/5
Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 10, 397–405, 2003
https://doi.org/10.5194/npg-10-397-2003
Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 10, 397–405, 2003
https://doi.org/10.5194/npg-10-397-2003

  31 Oct 2003

31 Oct 2003

Development of internal solitary waves in various thermocline regimes - a multi-modal approach

T. Gerkema T. Gerkema
  • Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, P.O. Box 59, 1790 AB Den Burg, The Netherlands

Abstract. A numerical analysis is made on the appearance of oceanic internal solitary waves in a multi-modal setting. This is done for observed profiles of stratification from the Sulu Sea and the Bay of Biscay, in which thermocline motion is dominated by the first and third mode, respectively. The results show that persistent solitary waves occur only in the former case, in accordance with the observations. In the Bay of Biscay much energy is transferred from the third mode to lower modes, implying that a uni-modal approach would not have been appropriate. To elaborate on these results in a systematic way, a simple model for the stratification is used; an interpretation is given in terms of regimes of thermocline strength.