Internal waves propagating in variable stratification exhibit nonlinear generation of harmonics. Here, synthetic schlieren is used to study a laboratory internal wave beam propagating from a uniformly stratified layer into a region of increased stratification (pycnocline) below a mixed layer. The results demonstrate the formation of harmonic (double-frequency) internal waves as the beam refracts into the pycnocline layer. For beam incidence angles <30° to the horizontal, harmonic internal waves are radiated back to the uniformly stratified layer. The harmonic wavenumber is approximately double the incident wavenumber, while its amplitude increases with the pycnocline buoyancy frequency gradient. Beams with larger incidence angles generate harmonics that are trapped within the pycnocline layer. In this case, the specific wavenumber of the trapped harmonic is determined by the normal modes of the stratification profile.
Experiments in Fluids – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 17, 2015
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