Experimental study of long nonlinear internal waves in rotating fluid
Abstract. Experiments were performed on the rotating platform 14 m in diameter equipped with a simple internal wave generator. Internal waves were generated for a wide range of Coriolis parameters. When the rotation is very weak, i.e., when the internal Rossby radius of deformation is much larger than the wavelength, then the stable nonlinear waves generated are solitary waves. These have a horizontal crest, as in the nonrotating case. When the rotation is strong, i.e., when the internal Rossby radius is at most comparable with the wavelength, then Sverdrup-like periodic waves can be generated, but no solitary wave can then propagate. For the intermediate case, Ostrovsky waves are generated. Their phase speed increases with increasing amplitude. Then, there are two characteristic wave lengths: one which varies with the inverse square root of the amplitude, as for the KdV wave, and the other, linked with the rotation, which varies as the square root of the amplitude. The experimental results are thus in agreement with most of the conclusions in recent analytical developments.