Internal waves in the ocean occur in stably stratified fluids when a water parcel is vertically displaced by some external forcing and is restored by buoyancy forces. A specific case of such internal waves is internal tides and their associated currents. These currents can be significant in areas where internal waves degenerate into nonlinear solitary waves, known as solitons.
Solitons are potentially hazardous for offshore engineering constructions, such as oil/gas pipelines and floating platforms. The most efficient mechanism of soliton generation is the tidal energy conversion from barotropic to baroclinic component over large-scale oceanic bottom obstructions (shelf breaks, seamounts, canyons and ridges).
In this paper, a methodology is provided to compute diagnostics and prognostics for soliton generation and propagation, including the associated currents. The methodology comprises a diagnostic tool which, through the use of a set of theoretical and empirical formulations, selects areas where solitons are likely to occur. These theoretical and empirical formulations include the computation of the integral body force (1), the linear wave theory to compute the phase speed and the empirical model proposed by (2). After the selection procedure, the tool provides initial and boundary conditions for non-hydrostatic numerical models. The numerical models run in 2D-V configuration (vertical slices) with horizontal and vertical resolutions ranging from 50 to 200 m and 5 to 10 m, respectively. Examples are provided for an open ocean location over the Mascarene Plateau in the Indian Ocean. Validation of diagnostics and prognostics are provided against ADCP and satellite data.