3D model demonstrates how sea waves transport materials within aquatic ecosystems

We know that the speed of wind controls the intensity of sea or ocean waves. Stronger the wind, larger will be the waves. And larger waves contains maximum amount of energy which helps in transporting materials across the water bodies.

Last Updated: May 29, 2016, 18:39 PM IST
3D model demonstrates how sea waves transport materials within aquatic ecosystems

New Delhi: We know that the speed of wind controls the intensity of sea or ocean waves. Stronger the wind, larger will be the waves. And larger waves contains maximum amount of energy which helps in transporting materials across the water bodies.

Apart from surface waves there are internal sea waves that are not visible with our naked eye but are extremely important for the survival of marine life.

Recently mathematicians at University of Waterloo developed a 3D model that shows how invisible internal sea wave transports garbage, nutrients and other materials that are necessary to support aquatic life.

Scientists with the help of 3D simulations revealed how materials such phytoplankton, contaminants, and nutrients move within aquatic ecosystems via underwater bulges called mode-2 internal waves.

In the model, fluids of different densities are layered like the layers of a cake, creating an environment similar to that found in large aquatic bodies such as oceans and lakes.A middle layer of fluid, known as a pycnocline, over which the layers are closely packed together is created, and it is in this layer that materials tend to be caught, according to the study presented recently in the journal Physics of Fluids.

The researchers found that the larger the bulge within the pycnocline, the larger the amount of material carried by the mode-2 wave.

The study can help researchers understand how this type of wave interacts with underwater topography like sea mounts.

(With IANS inputs)