Two-dimensional periodic waves in shallow water
Experimental data are presented that demonstrate the existence of a family of gravitational water waves that propagate practically without change of form on the surface of shallow water of uniform depth. The surface patterns of these waves are genuinely two-dimensional and fully periodic, i.e. they are periodic in two spatial directions and in time. The amplitudes of these waves need not be small; their form persists even up to breaking. The waves are easy to generate experimentally, and they are observed to propagate in a stable manner, even when perturbed significantly. The measured waves are described with reasonable accuracy by a family of exact solutions of the Kadomtsev-Petviashvili equation (KP solutions of genus 2) over the entire parameter range of the experiments, including waves well outside the putative range of validity of the KP equation. These genus-2 solutions of the KP equation may be viewed as two-dimensional generalizations of cnoidal waves.(Published Online April 26 2006)
(Received August 31 1988)
(Revised June 6 1989)
p1 Present address: Program in Applied Mathematics, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA.