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Accueil > Grands équipements > La plateforme tournante Coriolis > Projets de recherche > Archives 2010

Laboratory experiments and a non-harmonic theory for topographic Rossby waves over a linearly sloping bottom on the f-plane

Y. Cohen, N. Paldor & J. Sommeria

Low-frequency waves that develop in a shallow layer of fluid, contained in a channel with linearly slopping bottom and rotating with uniform angular speed are investigated theoretically and experimentally. Exact numerical solutions of the eigenvalue problem, obtained from the linearized shallow water equations on the f-plane, show that the waves are trapped near the channel’s shallow wall and propagate along it with the shallow side on their right in the Northern hemisphere. The phase speed of the waves is slower compared with that of the harmonic theory in which bottom slope is treated inconsistently. A first-order approximation of the cross-channel dependence of the coefficient in the eigenvalue equation yields an approximation of the cross-channel velocity eigenfunction as an Airy function, which, for sufficiently wide channels, yields an explicit expression for the wave’s dispersion relation. The analytic solutions of the eigenvalue problem agree with the numerical solutions in both the wave trapping and the reduced phase speed. For narrow channels, our theory yields an estimate of the channel width below which the harmonic theory provides a more accurate approximation. Laboratory experiments were conducted on a 13 m diameter turntable at LEGI-Coriolis (France) into which a linearly sloping bottom of 10 % incline was installed. A wavemaker generated waves of known frequency at one end of the turntable and the wavenumbers of these waves were measured at the opposite end using a particle imaging velocimetry technique. The experimental results regarding the phase speed and the radial structure of the amplitude are in very good agreement with our theoretical non-harmonic predictions, which support the present modification of the harmonic theory in wide channels.