Interaction of high frequency internal waves and the boundary layer on the continental shelf
Sanford, Lawrence P.
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LocationNorthern California Continental Shelf
Intermittent, shoreward propagating packets of high frequency first mode internal waves are common on the continental shelf when the water column is stratified and may induce large fluctuations in near bottom velocity. Simple theoretical considerations here lead to an approximate method for estimating those quantities of most interest for the bottom boundary layer interaction problem. Examination of data from the pilot Coastal Ocean Dynamics Experiment (CODE I) shows that near bottom velocity fluctuations in the high frequency internal wave band were dominated by shoreward propagating, intermittent mode 1 internal events. Predictions of CODE I internal wave characteristics using the above approximate method are shown to be good. A boundary layer model is developed, which allows for the nonlinear interaction of surface waves, internal waves, and a steady current over a rough bottom. Modeling results suggest that internal waves will significantly enhance the stress felt by the steady current, and can increase the variability and decrease the reliability of boundary layer measurements by the "log profile" technique, when the waves are present. Theoretical dissipation of internal wave energy in the bottom boundary layer is found to be significantly enhanced in the presence of surface waves and currents, and may be important to the overall internal wave energy balance on the shelf.
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution August 1984
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