Decay and return of internal solitary waves with rotation

Karl R. Helfrich
2007 Physics of Fluids  
The effect of rotation on the propagation of internal solitary waves is examined. Wave evolution is followed using a new rotating extension of a fully-nonlinear, weakly nonhydrostatic theory for waves in a two-layer system. When a solitary wave solution of the non-rotating equations is used as the initial condition the wave initially decays by radiation of longer inertia-gravity waves. The radiated inertia-gravity wave always steepens, leading to the formation a secondary solitary-like wave.
more » ... s decay and re-emergence process then repeats. Eventually a nearly localized wavepacket emerges. It consists of a longwave envelope and shorter, faster solitary-like waves that propagate through the envelope. The radiation from this mature state is very weak, leading to a robust, long-lived structure that may contain as much as 50% of the energy in the initial solitary wave. Interacting packets may either pass through one another, or merge to form a longer packet. The packets appear to be modulated, fully-nonlinear versions of the steadily translating quasi-cnoidal waves.
doi:10.1063/1.2472509 fatcat:fdrhtad5qreo3c7w4tcsqws67e