Journal of Fluid Mechanics


Strong particle dispersion by weakly dissipative random internal waves

Oliver Bühlera1 c1, Nicolas Grisouarda1a2 and Miranda Holmes-Cerfona1

a1 Center for Atmosphere Ocean Science at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University, New York, NY 10012, USA

a2 Department of Environmental Earth System Science, Stanford University, CA 94305, USA


Simple stochastic models and direct nonlinear numerical simulations of three-dimensional internal waves are combined in order to understand the strong horizontal particle dispersion at second-order in wave amplitude that arises when small-amplitude internal waves are exposed to weak dissipation. This is contrasted with the well-known results for perfectly inviscid internal waves, in which such dispersion arises only at fourth-order in wave amplitude.

(Received December 22 2012)

(Revised January 25 2013)

(Accepted January 30 2013)

Key words

  • geophysical and geological flows;
  • mixing and dispersion;
  • waves in rotating fluids