Title

Soliton turbulence in shallow water ocean surface waves

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

9-2-2014

Abstract

We analyze shallow water wind waves in Currituck Sound, North Carolina and experimentally confirm, for the first time, the presence of soliton turbulence in ocean waves. Soliton turbulence is an exotic form of nonlinear wave motion where low frequency energy may also be viewed as a dense soliton gas, described theoretically by the soliton limit of the Korteweg-deVries equation, a completely integrable soliton system: Hence the phrase "soliton turbulence" is synonymous with "integrable soliton turbulence." For periodic-quasiperiodic boundary conditions the ergodic solutions of Korteweg-deVries are exactly solvable by finite gap theory (FGT), the basis of our data analysis. We find that large amplitude measured wave trains near the energetic peak of a storm have low frequency power spectra that behave as ∼ω-1. We use the linear Fourier transform to estimate this power law from the power spectrum and to filter densely packed soliton wave trains from the data. We apply FGT to determine the soliton spectrum and find that the low frequency ∼ω-1 region is soliton dominated. The solitons have random FGT phases, a soliton random phase approximation, which supports our interpretation of the data as soliton turbulence. From the probability density of the solitons we are able to demonstrate that the solitons are dense in time and highly non-Gaussian.

Publication Title

Physical Review Letters

Volume

113

Issue

10

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

10.1103/PhysRevLett.113.108501

ISSN

00319007

E-ISSN

10797114

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