||While shoaling from deepwater in a stratified ocean, an interfacial solitary wave (ISW) may experience waveform inversion on a continental margin. Although many oceanographers have believed that the inversion from depression to elevation may commence at the turning point where the upper and bottom layers are equal in depth, this phenomenon has not been fully verified in field observations nor in a laboratory. In this study, a series of laboratory experiments and numerical modeling were conducted on the evolution of an ISW of depression across uniform slope joining a horizontal plateau which resembles pseudo slope-shelf topography, in order to clarify this fascinating phenomenon and the variations of wave properties associated with the process. |
In the laboratory experiments, a depression ISW was produced by a collapse mechanism in a stratified two-layer fluid system within a steel-framed wave flume (12 m long, 0.7 m high by 0.5 m wide) at the National Sun Yat-sen University in Taiwan. The fluid density in the upper (fresh) and bottom (brine) layers was 996 and 1030 kg/m3, respectively. A series of experiments were conducted upon varying the magnitude of the most important physical factors (i.e., nominal thickness of pycnocline, depth ratio between upper and bottom layer, front gradient and shape of pseudo slope-shelf), from which the results are now discussed in four separate chapters in this thesis.
Present laboratory results indicate that the process of waveform inversion took place after an ISW had experienced internal run-down, hydraulic jump, vortex motion and surge-up on the front slope, prior to its propagation onto the plateau. Moreover, the fundamental wave period of leading wave on the plateau was significantly smaller than that in the preceding sections on the front slope and the incident stage earlier, thus representing frequency downshift. Amongst the factors involved, the depth ratio between the upper and bottom layer was the most significant one for waveform inversion. Only when the upper layer was thicker than the bottom layer on the plateau of pseudo slope-shelf, waveform inversion could occur, besides the length of the plateau. On the other hand, the front gradient and shape of pseudo slope-shelf also affected the magnitude of the transmitted wave over the plateau as the wave across this specific topography. In the case of a steeper front gradient, waveform inversion became insignificant due to stronger wave reflection and intense energy dissipation caused by turbulent mixing while a depression ISW propagated over a slope-shelf; particularly against a submerged vertical cliff. As a depression ISW across pseudo slope-shelf with short plateau, intense wave breaking might occur again with vortex motion at its rear end as the newly inversed waveform reentering deep water. In this region, the upper layer was smaller than the bottom layer, hence it could not support the continuous existence of an ISW in elevation. Again, energy dissipation occurred due to turbulent mixing beyond the rear end of a short plateau. Finally, a different mode of ISW appeared within pycnocline, while its nominal thickness was larger than the amplitude of the incident wave.
In addition to the laboratory investigations, numerical model was also adopted to study the variations in the flow field as an ISW propagated over a pseudo slope-shelf, in order to complement the experimental results. The results of numerical modeling revealed that the horizontal velocity in the bottom layer increased when the wave encountered the front slope, even if the depth of upper layer was thinner than that of the bottom layer on the plateau. Consequently, the velocity in the upper layer became less than that in the bottom layer when the former was thicker than that of the latter on the plateau. On the other hand, the vertical velocity within the self-generated vortex switched direction as waveform inversion commenced after the wave across the shoulder of pseudo slope-shelf where the local depth of the upper layer was larger than that of bottom part.
Overall, the significance of the four pertinent factors (i.e., nominal thickness of pycnocline, water depth ratio, front slope, and plateau length) that affected a depression ISW across pseudo slope-shelf is discussed in detail in this thesis, as well as the variation of flow field calculated by the numerical mode presented.