Rotational waves generated by current-topography interaction

Marcelo V. Flamarion, Paul A. Milewski, André Nachbin

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We study nonlinear free-surface rotational waves generated through the interaction of a vertically sheared current with a topography. Equivalently, the waves may be generated by a pressure distribution along the free surface. A forced Korteweg–de Vries equation (fKdV) is deduced incorporating these features. The weakly nonlinear, weakly dispersive reduced model is valid for small amplitude topographies. To study the effect of gradually increasing the topography amplitude, the free surface Euler equations are formulated in the presence of a variable depth and a sheared current of constant vorticity. Under constant vorticity, the harmonic velocity component is formulated in a simplified canonical domain, through the use of a conformal mapping which flattens both the free surface as well as the bottom topography. Critical, supercritical, and subcritical Froude number regimes are considered, while the bottom amplitude is gradually increased in both the irrotational and rotational wave regimes. Solutions to the fKdV model are compared to those from the Euler equations. We show that for rotational waves the critical Froude number is shifted away from 1. New stationary solutions are found and their stability tested numerically.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)433-464
Number of pages32
JournalStudies in Applied Mathematics
Issue number4
Early online date10 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019


  • numerical methods
  • water waves and fluid dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Mathematics


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