Three-dimensional evolution of large-amplitude internal waves in the Strait of Gibraltar
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The modeling of large-amplitude internal waves (LAIWs) propagating in the Strait of Gibraltar is carried out using a fully nonlinear nonhydrostatic numerical model. The focus of the modeling efforts was on three-dimensional peculiarities of LAIW evolution, namely, cross-strait variability, interaction with lateral boundaries (including wave breaking and water mixing), radiation of secondary waves from orographic features, and interaction of secondary scattered internal waves. The along-channel propagation of packets of LAIWs reveals remarkable three-dimensional behavior. Due to the Coriolis force and multiple reflections from the lateral boundaries, the largest leading LAIW loses its energy much faster than that in the packet tail, which captures the scattered energy from the leading wave as it propagates and grows in amplitude. As a result of the energy transfer, the initially rank-ordered wave packet loses its regular structure to evolve into a non-rank-ordered wave train. In situ data collected in the eastern part of the Strait of Gibraltar confirm the idea that the non-rank-ordered structure is a common feature of internal wave packets emerging from the strait into the Alboran Sea. © 2009 American Meteorological Society.
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