Advection of pollutants by internal solitary waves in oceanic and atmospheric stable stratifications
- 1Department of Chemical Engineering, UMIST. P.O. Box 88, Manchester M60 1QD, England
- 2Department of Chemical and Process Engineering, University of Sheffield, Newcastle Street, Sheffield S1 3RD, England
Abstract. When a pollutant is released into the ocean or atmosphere under turbulent conditions, even a steady release is captured by large eddies resulting in localized patches of high concentration of the pollutant. If such a cloud of pollutant subsequently enters a stable stratification-either a pycnocline or thermocline-then internal waves are excited. Since large solitary internal waves have a recirculating core, pollutants may be trapped in the sclitary wave, and advected large distances through the waveguide provided by the stratification. This paper addresses the mechanisms, through computer and physical simulation, by which a localized release of a dense pollutant results in solitary waves that trap the pollutant or disperse the pollutant faster than in the absence of the waves.