Journal of Fluid Mechanics

Water wave scattering by a step of arbitrary profile

R. PORTER a1 and D. PORTER a2
a1 School of Mathematics, University of Bristol, Bristol, BS8 1TW, UK
a2 Department of Mathematics, The University of Reading, P. O. Box 220, Whiteknights, Reading, RG6 6AX, UK


The two-dimensional scattering of water waves over a finite region of arbitrarily varying topography linking two semi-infinite regions of constant depth is considered. Unlike many approaches to this problem, the formulation employed is exact in the context of linear theory, utilizing simple combinations of Green's functions appropriate to water of constant depth and the Cauchy–Riemann equations to derive a system of coupled integral equations for components of the fluid velocity at certain locations. Two cases arise, depending on whether the deepest point of the topography does or does not lie below the lower of the semi-infinite horizontal bed sections. In each, the reflected and transmitted wave amplitudes are related to the incoming wave amplitudes by a scattering matrix which is defined in terms of inner products involving the solution of the corresponding integral equation system.

This solution is approximated by using the variational method in conjunction with a judicious choice of trial function which correctly models the fluid behaviour at the free surface and near the joins of the varying topography with the constant-depth sections, which may not be smooth. The numerical results are remarkably accurate, with just a two-term trial function giving three decimal places of accuracy in the reflection and transmission coefficents in most cases, whilst increasing the number of terms in the trial function results in rapid convergence. The method is applied to a range of examples.

(Received October 12 1999)
(Revised December 16 1999)