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Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 16, 587-598, 2009
© Author(s) 2009. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
25 Sep 2009
Long-term evolution of strongly nonlinear internal solitary waves in a rotating channel
J. C. Sánchez-Garrido1,2 and V. Vlasenko3 1Grupo de Oceanografía Física. Dpto. Física Aplicada II, Campus de Teatinos, University of Malaga, Malaga, Spain
2Grupo de Puertos y Costas, Centro Andaluz de Medio Ambiente, University of Granada, Granada, Spain
3School of Earth, Ocean and Enviromental Sciences, Plymouth University, Drake Circus, Plymouth PL8 4AA, UK
Abstract. The evolution of internal solitary waves (ISWs) propagating in a rotating channel is studied numerically in the framework of a fully-nonlinear, nonhydrostatic numerical model. The aim of modelling efforts was the investigation of strongly-nonlinear effects, which are beyond the applicability of weakly nonlinear theories. Results reveal that small-amplitude waves and sufficiently strong ISWs evolve differently under the action of rotation. At the first stage of evolution an initially two-dimensional ISW transforms according to the scenario described by the rotation modified Kadomtsev-Petviashvili equation, namely, it starts to evolve into a Kelvin wave (with exponential decay of the wave amplitude across the channel) with front curved backwards. This transition is accompanied by a permanent radiation of secondary Poincaré waves attached to the leading wave. However, in a strongly-nonlinear limit not all the energy is transmitted to secondary radiated waves. Part of it returns to the leading wave as a result of nonlinear interactions with secondary Kelvin waves generated in the course of time. This leads to the formation of a slowly attenuating quasi-stationary system of leading Kelvin waves, capable of propagating for several hundreds hours as a localized wave packet.

Citation: Sánchez-Garrido, J. C. and Vlasenko, V.: Long-term evolution of strongly nonlinear internal solitary waves in a rotating channel, Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 16, 587-598, doi:10.5194/npg-16-587-2009, 2009.
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