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Nonlinear Waves of Vorticity

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This is a review of solutions of the vorticity equation for two-dimensional flow of an inviscid incompressible fluid that represent nonlinear waves. Geophysical applications are emphasized. Some of the solutions are valid in the beta-plane of Rossby. Some are related to weakly nonlinear perturbations of basic parallel flows and axisymmetric flows, to initial-value problems of hydrodynamic instability and to variational principles of minimal enstrophy or maximal entropy. Some have been found by exploiting well-known ideas of the theory of solitons. In addition to listing known solutions and presenting a synthesis of their relationship to other fluid dynamic results, we report a few new ideas and new solutions for strongly nonlinear waves.
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Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: 1: Florida State University, 2: University of Bath

Publication date: May 1, 2001

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