Articles | Volume 22, issue 3
Research article
04 May 2015
Research article |  | 04 May 2015

Incidence and reflection of internal waves and wave-induced currents at a jump in buoyancy frequency

J. P. McHugh

Abstract. Weakly nonlinear internal gravity waves are treated in a two-layer fluid with a set of nonlinear Schrodinger equations. The layers have a sharp interface with a jump in buoyancy frequency approximately modeling the tropopause. The waves are periodic in the horizontal but modulated in the vertical and Boussinesq flow is assumed. The equation governing the incident wave packet is directly coupled to the equation for the reflected packet, while the equation governing transmitted waves is only coupled at the interface. Solutions are obtained numerically. The results indicate that the waves create a mean flow that is strong near and underneath the interface, and discontinuous at the interface. Furthermore, the mean flow has an oscillatory component that can contaminate the wave envelope and has a vertical wavelength that decreases as the wave packet interacts with the interface.