Marek Stastna | University of Waterloo, Applied Mathematics
Simulating mode-2 internal waves: how a mathematical oddity went mainstream
While mode-1 internal waves are generally thought of as the dominant type of internal wave in the coastal ocean, their higher mode cousins, especially mode-2 waves, have received increasing attention in the scientific literature over the last decade. Observations suggest mode-2 waves are shorter lived than mode-1 waves, but perhaps considerably more common than previously thought. I will describe our group’s efforts to model the generation, propagation and destruction of such waves, as well as a number of related laboratory studies. We have been able to use our simulations to confirm laboratory observations, and in some cases to drive further laboratory explorations. The resulting simulations have also driven efforts to improve and augment our in house CFD code. I will outline open problems, especially those relating to turbulence generation during mode-2 wave formation, and discuss how a phenomenon as seemingly ephemeral as mode-2 waves can drive theoretical progress.