Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

On the interpretation of energy and energy fluxes of nonlinear internal waves: An example from Massachusetts Bay

January 1, 2006

A self-consistent formalism to estimate baroclinic energy densities and fluxes resulting from the propagation of internal waves of arbitrary amplitude is derived using the concept of available potential energy. The method can be applied to numerical, laboratory or field data. The total energy flux is shown to be the sum of the linear energy flux ??? u??? p??? dz (primes denote baroclinic quantities), plus contributions from the non-hydrostatic pressure anomaly and the self-advection of kinetic and available potential energy. Using highly resolved observations in Massachusetts Bay, it is shown that due to the presence of nonlinear internal waves periodically propagating in the area, ??? u??? p??? dz accounts for only half of the total flux. The same data show that equipartition of available potential and kinetic energy can be violated, especially when the nonlinear waves begin to interact with the bottom. ?? 2006 Cambridge University Press.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2006
Title On the interpretation of energy and energy fluxes of nonlinear internal waves: An example from Massachusetts Bay
DOI 10.1017/S0022112006000991
Authors A. Scotti, R. Beardsley, B. Butman
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Fluid Mechanics
Series Number
Index ID 70028403
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center