Ocean Dynamics

, Volume 61, Issue 10, pp 1697-1717

First online:

Tidal mixing in sill regions: influence of sill depth and aspect ratio

  • Jiuxing XingAffiliated withNational Oceanographic Centre Email author 
  • , Alan M. DaviesAffiliated withNational Oceanographic Centre

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A non-hydrostatic model in cross-sectional form with an idealized sill is used to examine the influence of sill depth (h s) and aspect ratio upon internal motion. The model is forced with a barotropic tide and internal waves and mixing occurs at the sill. Calculations using a wide sill and quantifying the response using power spectra show that for a given tidal forcing namely Froude number F r as the sill depth (h s) increases the lee wave response and vertical mixing decrease. This is because of a reduction in across sill velocity U s due to increased depth. Calculations show that the sill Froude number F s based on sill depth and across sill velocity is one parameter that controls the response at the sill. At low F s (namely F s ≪ 1) in the wide sill case, there is little lee wave production, and the response is in terms of internal tides. At high F s, calculations with a narrow sill show that for a given F s value, the lee wave response and internal mixing increase with increasing aspect ratio. Calculations using a narrow sill with constant U s show that for small values of h s, a near surface mixed layer can occur on the downstream side of the sill. For large values of h s, a thick well-mixed bottom boundary layer occurs due to turbulence produced by the lee waves at the seabed. For intermediate values of h s, “internal mixing” dominates the solution and controls across thermocline mixing.


Internal waves Sill Mixing