B. Desjardins, D. Lannes, J.-C. Saut, Water Waves (2020), 1-40 Download

Motivated by the analysis of the propagation of internal waves in a stratified ocean, we consider in this article the incompressible Euler equations with variable density in a flat strip, and we study the evolution of perturbations of the hydrostatic equilibrium corresponding to a stable vertical stratification of the density. We show the local well-posedness of the equations in this configuration and provide a detailed study of their linear approximation. Performing a modal decomposition according to a Sturm–Liouville problem associated with the background stratification, we show that the linear approximation can be described by a series of dispersive perturbations of linear wave equations. When the so-called Brunt–Vaisälä frequency is not constant, we show that these equations are coupled, hereby exhibiting a phenomenon of dispersive mixing. We then consider more specifically shallow water configurations (when the horizontal scale is much larger than the depth); under the Boussinesq approxima-tion (i.e., neglecting the density variations in the momentum equation), we provide a well-posedness theorem for which we are able to control the existence time in terms of the relevant physical scales. We can then extend the modal decomposition to the nonlinear case and exhibit a nonlinear mixing of different nature than the dispersive mixing mentioned above. Finally, we discuss some perspectives such as the sharp stratification limit that is expected to converge towards two-fluid systems.

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