Generation of second mode solitary waves by the interaction of a first mode soliton with a sill
- Institut für Mechanik, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Hochschulstr. 1, D-64289 Darmstadt, Germany
Abstract. Results of an experimental and theoretical study of the interaction of a first mode internal solitary wave with a localised bottom topography (sill) are presented. Laboratory experiments have been performed in a 10m long and 0.33m wide channel filled with a stratified fluid. The interface between the two layers (fresh and salt water) is diffuse and has a finite thickness. Soliton-type disturbances of the interface having characteristics of the first baroclinic mode are generated at one channel end. They move along the channel and encounter an underwater obstacle (sill) in the middle of the channel, where they break into reflected and transmitted waves. Two types of internal waves are produced by the interaction: a fast first mode internal soliton and a slower (by a factor of approximately 3) second mode soliton-like wave. A numerical model, based on the two-dimensional Navier-Stokes equations in the Boussinesq approximation, is used tore produce the laboratory experiment. The detailed analysis of the horizontal and vertical structures of transmitted and reflected waves showed that the fast reflected and transmitted waves observed in the experiment can be interpreted as a first mode internal solitary wave whose characteristics are very close to those of the K-dV solitons. It is also demonstrated that the slow speed waves, generated during the interaction behind the first fast wave have vertical and horizontal structures very close to the second mode internal K-dV solitons.