Topographically forced long waves on a sheared coastal current. Part 1: The weakly nonlinear response

S. R. Clarke, E. R. Johnson

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The flow of a constant-vorticity current past coastal topography is investigated in the long-wave weakly nonlinear limit. In contrast to other near-critical weakly nonlinear systems this problem does not exhibit hydraulically controlled solutions. It is shown that near criticality the evolution of the vorticity interface is governed by a forced BDA (Benjamin-Davis-Acrivos) equation. The solutions of this equation are discussed and two distinct near-critical flow regimes are identified. Owing to the non-local nature of the forcing, the first of these regimes is characterized by quasi-steady solutions controlled at the topography with some blocking of the upstream rotational fluid, while in the second regime steady nonlinear wavetrains form downstream of the obstacle with no upstream influence. In the hydraulic limit the velocity band for both of these critical regimes approaches zero.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-151
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jul 1997
Externally publishedYes

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