UNDERSTANDING the flow of a stratified fluid over an uneven bed is an important problem in hydrodynamics. Previous field experiments using acoustic imagery1–3 have enhanced our understanding of internal-wave generation mechanisms. These studies have generally concentrated on isolated topographic features that show large-amplitude long internal waves and hydraulic jumps as the flow becomes critical defined in the hydraulic sense such that a long-wave speed vanishes with respect to a fixed coordinate system. We present field observations of stratified fluid flow over a nearly periodic topographic relief which show a unique series of resonant internal waves. The observations, carried out in the Rotterdam Waterway, show the presence of internal waves with wavelengths commensurate with those of the topography of the waterway bed and amplitudes that are three to four times larger than the relief of the topography generating them. Resonant internal waves may be important in understanding the flow dynamics of stratified coastal environments and may have consequences for atmospheric flows over mountain ranges.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution
Subscribe to this journal
Receive 51 print issues and online access
$199.00 per year
only $3.90 per issue
Rent or buy this article
Get just this article for as long as you need it
Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout
Farmer, D. M. & Smith, J. D. Deep Sea Res. 17, 239–254 (1980).
Farmer, D. M. & Freeland, H. J. Prog. Oceanogr. 12, 147–220 (1983).
Chereskin, T. K. J. geophys. Res. 88, 2649–2661 (1983).
Long, R. R. Tellus 5, 42–58 (1953).
Long, R. R. Tellus 6, 97–115 (1954).
Long, R. R. Tellus 7, 342–357 (1955).
Baines, P. G. J. Fluid Mech. 82, 147–159 (1977).
Baines, P. G. Tellus 31, 351–371 (1979).
Maxworthy, T. J. geophys. Res. 84, 338–346 (1979).
Lamb, H. Hydrodynamics (Dover, New York, 1932).
Smith, R. B. J. atmos. Sci. 33, 507–519 (1976).
Farmer, D. M. & Smith, J. D. in Hydrodynamics of Estuaries and Fjords (ed. Nihoul, J. C. J.) (Elsevier, Amsterdam, 1978).
Abraham, G. de Jong, P. & van Kruiningen, F. E. in Lecture Notes on Coastal and Estuarine Studies 16, (ed. van de Kreeke, J.) 6–21 (Springer, Berlin, 1986).
Pietrzak, J. D., Abraham, G. & Kranenburg, C. Stratified Flows Rep. 6, (Rijkswaterstaat, Delft Hydraulics, Delft University of Technology, 1989).
Bell, T. H. J. Fluid Mech 67, 705–722 (1975).
Gill, A. E. Atmosphere-Ocean Dynamics (Int. Geophys. Ser. 30) (Academic Press, New York, 1982).
New, A. & Dyer, K. R. in Physical processes in Estuaries (eds Dronkers, J. & van Leussen, W.) 239–254 (Springer, Berlin, 1988).
Grimshaw, R. H. J. & Smythe, N. J. Fluid Mech. 169, 429–464 (1986).
Bretherton, F. P. Q. JI. met. Soc. 95, 213–243 (1969).
Smith, R. B. Adv. Geophys. 21, 87–230 (1979).
Geyer, W. R. & Smith, J. D. J. phys. Oceanogr. 17, 1668–1679 (1987).
Kranenburg, C. Estuar. Coastal Shelf Sci. 27, 15–32 (1988).
Dyer, K. R. Sedimentology 29, 885–889 (1982).
Rights and permissions
About this article
Cite this article
Pietrzak, J., Kranenburg, C. & Abraham, G. Resonant internal waves in fluid flow. Nature 344, 844–847 (1990). https://doi.org/10.1038/344844a0
By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.