Nonlinear Waves at the Ocean Interface
Swinburne University of Technology
Nonlinear Physics Centre / Centre for Plasmas and Fluids Joint Seminar
Ocean surface waves are among the most ubiquitous and complex examples of nonlinear waves. Nearly always three-dimensional, wind-forced and subject to various dissipation mechanisms such as wave breaking which is intermittent, rapid and powerful by comparison to other processes in the energy balance. They are dispersive in the deep water and non-dispersive in shallow depths, refracted by currents, diffracted by islands, reflected by coasts, scattered by ice or bottom. As such, they are both similar and different to the nonlinear physics in other media.
At the seminar, the place of the ocean waves in air-sea system will be outlined, with more detailed discussion of modulational instability of water-wave trains. This instability appears to be responsible both for rogue waves in the ocean and wave breaking, and provides interesting links with waves in nonlinear optics.