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Breather Turbulence: Exact Spectral and Stochastic Solutions of the Nonlinear Schrödinger Equation

Nonlinear Waves Research Corporation, Alexandria, VA 22314, USA
Fluids 2019, 4(2), 72; https://doi.org/10.3390/fluids4020072
Received: 25 February 2019 / Revised: 27 March 2019 / Accepted: 29 March 2019 / Published: 15 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nonlinear Wave Hydrodynamics)
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Abstract

I address the problem of breather turbulence in ocean waves from the point of view of the exact spectral solutions of the nonlinear Schrödinger (NLS) equation using two tools of mathematical physics: (1) the inverse scattering transform (IST) for periodic/quasiperiodic boundary conditions (also referred to as finite gap theory (FGT) in the Russian literature) and (2) quasiperiodic Fourier series, both of which enhance the physical and mathematical understanding of complicated nonlinear phenomena in water waves. The basic approach I refer to is nonlinear Fourier analysis (NLFA). The formulation describes wave motion with spectral components consisting of sine waves, Stokes waves and breather packets that nonlinearly interact pair-wise with one another. This contrasts to the simpler picture of standard Fourier analysis in which one linearly superposes sine waves. Breather trains are coherent wave packets that “breath” up and down during their lifetime “cycle” as they propagate, a phenomenon related to Fermi-Pasta-Ulam (FPU) recurrence. The central wave of a breather, when the packet is at its maximum height of the FPU cycle, is often treated as a kind of rogue wave. Breather turbulence occurs when the number of breathers in a measured time series is large, typically several hundred per hour. Because of the prevalence of rogue waves in breather turbulence, I call this exceptional type of sea state a breather sea or rogue sea. Here I provide theoretical tools for a physical and dynamical understanding of the recent results of Osborne et al. (Ocean Dynamics, 2019, 69, pp. 187–219) in which dense breather turbulence was found in experimental surface wave data in Currituck Sound, North Carolina. Quasiperiodic Fourier series are important in the study of ocean waves because they provide a simpler theoretical interpretation and faster numerical implementation of the NLFA, with respect to the IST, particularly with regard to determination of the breather spectrum and their associated phases that are here treated in the so-called nonlinear random phase approximation. The actual material developed here focuses on results necessary for the analysis and interpretation of shipboard/offshore platform radar scans and for airborne lidar and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) measurements. View Full-Text
Keywords: stokes waves; breather packets; rogue waves; nonlinear time series analysis; nonlinear ocean waves; nonlinear laboratory waves; nonlinear random phase approximation stokes waves; breather packets; rogue waves; nonlinear time series analysis; nonlinear ocean waves; nonlinear laboratory waves; nonlinear random phase approximation
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Osborne, A.R. Breather Turbulence: Exact Spectral and Stochastic Solutions of the Nonlinear Schrödinger Equation. Fluids 2019, 4, 72.

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