EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Mixing induced by ISWs breaking over a sloping boundary: an analytical heuristic model

Davide Cavaliere1, Giovanni la Forgia2,3, and Federico Falcini3
Davide Cavaliere et al.
  • 1Sapienza University of Rome, Department of Basic and Applied Sciences for Engineering, Rome, Italy (
  • 2Roma Tre University, Department of Civil Engineering, Rome, Italy
  • 3ISMAR-CNR, Rome, Italy

We propose an analytical approach to estimate mixing efficiency in Internal Solitary Waves (ISWs) breaking processes. We make use of the theoretical framework of Winters et al. [1995] to describe the energetics of a stratified fluid flow, calculating the Available Potential Energy (APE) of an ISW of depression in a two-layer system, assuming that the symmetric density structure on both sides of the feature is exactly the same. Starting from the definition of mixing efficiency given by Michallet and Ivey [1999], through the Ozmidov and Thorpe length-scales we derive an expression for the mixing efficiency avoiding the use of any wave model (as KdV-type models or strongly nonlinear models) to estimate the wave energy. The model is successfully verified through laboratory experiments performed in a wave tank and is meant to be applied by using real field CTD casts.



Winters, K., Lombard, P., Riley, J., and D’Asaro, E. (1995). Available potential

energy and mixing in density-stratified fluids. J. Fluid Mech., 289, 115-128.

Michallet, H. and Ivey, G. (1999). Experiments on mixing due to internal solitary

waves breaking on uniform slopes. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans,

104(C6), 13467-13477

How to cite: Cavaliere, D., la Forgia, G., and Falcini, F.: Mixing induced by ISWs breaking over a sloping boundary: an analytical heuristic model, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-5098,, 2020