Internal waves and temperature fronts on slopes
Abstract. Time series measurements from an array of temperature miniloggers in a line at constant depth along the sloping boundary of a lake are used to describe the `internal surf zone' where internal waves interact with the sloping boundary. More small positive temperature time derivatives are recorded than negative, but there are more large negative values than positive, giving the overall distribution of temperature time derivatives a small negative skewness. This is consistent with the internal wave dynamics; fronts form during the up-slope phase of the motion, bringing cold water up the slope, and the return flow may become unstable, leading to small advecting billows and weak warm fronts. The data are analysed to detect `events', periods in which the temperature derivatives exceed a set threshold. The speed and distance travelled by `events' are described. The motion along the slope may be a consequence of (a) instabilities advected by the flow (b) internal waves propagating along-slope or (c) internal waves approaching the slope from oblique directions. The propagation of several of the observed 'events' can only be explained by (c), evidence that the internal surf zone has some, but possibly not all, the characteristics of the conventional 'surface wave' surf zone, with waves steepening as they approach the slope at oblique angles.
Key words. Oceanography: general (benthic boundary layers; limnology), Oceanography: physical (internal and inertial waves)