Influence of topography on tide propagation and amplification in semi-enclosed basins

Pieter C. Roos, Henk M. Schuttelaars

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An idealized model for tide propagation and amplification in semi-enclosed rectangular basins is presented, accounting for depth differences by a combination of longitudinal and lateral topographic steps. The basin geometry is formed by several adjacent compartments of identical width, each having either a uniform depth or two depths separated by a transverse topographic step. The problem is forced by an incoming Kelvin wave at the open end, while allowing waves to radiate outward. The solution in each compartment is written as the superposition of (semi)-analytical wave solutions in an infinite channel, individually satisfying the depth-averaged linear shallow water equations on the f plane, including bottom friction. A collocation technique is employed to satisfy continuity of elevation and flux across the longitudinal topographic steps between the compartments. The model results show that the tidal wave in shallow parts displays slower propagation, enhanced dissipation and amplified amplitudes. This reveals a resonance mechanism, occurring when the length of the shallow end is roughly an odd multiple of the quarter Kelvin wavelength. Alternatively, for sufficiently wide basins, also Poincaré waves may become resonant. A transverse step implies different wavelengths of the incoming and reflected Kelvin wave, leading to increased amplitudes in shallow regions and a shift of amphidromic points in the direction of the deeper part. Including the shallow parts near the basin’s closed end (thus capturing the Kelvin resonance mechanism) is essential to reproduce semi-diurnal and diurnal tide observations in the Gulf of California, the Adriatic Sea and the Persian Gulf.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-38
JournalOcean dynamics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • METIS-272192
  • Semi-enclosed basins · Topography · Resonance · Coriolis effects · Bottom friction
  • IR-78400


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