Excitation of Seiche Observed in a Small Harbor

Okihiro, M, Guza RT, Seymour RJ.  1993.  Excitation of Seiche Observed in a Small Harbor. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 98:18201-18211.

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coastal seiches, infragravity waves, internal waves, oscillations, sea


Seiche measured within a small (0.6 by 0.6 km), shallow (12-m depth) harbor is dominated by oscillations in several narrow infragravity frequency bands between approximately 10(-3) and 10(-2) Hz. Energy levels within the harbor are amplified, relative to just outside the harbor in 8.5-m depth, by as much as a factor of 20 at the lowest (grave mode) resonant frequency (approximately 10(-3) Hz) compared to amplifications of roughly 5 at higher resonant frequencies (approximately 10(-2) Hz). At nonresonant frequencies, energy levels observed inside the harbor are lower than those outside. These amplifications are compared to predictions of a numerical model of seiche excited by linear, inviscid long waves impinging on a harbor of variable depth. The amplification of higher-frequency (approximately 10(-2)-Hz) seiches is predicted within a factor of about 2. However, at the grave mode (10(-3) Hz), the observed amplification decreases with increasing swell and seiche energy levels, possibly owing to the sensitivity of this highly amplified mode to dissipation not included in the inviscid model. The energy levels of higher-frequency seiche within the harbor were predicted from the offshore sea and swell spectra by the ad hoc coupling of the linear model for the amplification of harbor modes with a nonlinear model for the generation of bound infragravity waves outside the harbor. The predictions are qualitatively accurate only when the swell is energetic and bound waves are a significant fraction of the infragravity energy outside the harbor.