Scattering of continental shelf waves at a discontinuity in shelf width.

J. L. Wilkin, D. C. Chapman

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37 Scopus citations


An analytical solution is presented for the scattering of a free shelf wave incident upon a discontinuity in shelf width in a barotropic ocean. The discussion of solutions relying on backscattered free waves with large wavenumbers which may not exist in a realistically stratified ocean is avoided by considering only the range of parameters over which energy transmission is nearly 100%. There is a substantial transfer of energy to modes other than that of the incident wave. The mode most readily excited is that which has the cross shelf structure most closely coinciding with that of the incident wave. The resultant presence of multiple modes produces a strong alongshelf modulation in flow intensity and phase progression downstream of the scattering region which may affect the interpretation of shelf wave observations. A nondispersive long shelf wave pulse is shown to scatter into a train of pulses of differing mode numbers, each propagating at its own free wave speed. (A)

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)713-724
Number of pages12
Issue number6 , Jun. 1987
StatePublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography


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