Author Posting. © Annual Reviews, 2006. This article is posted here by permission of Annual Reviews for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics 38 (2006): 395-425, doi:10.1146/annurev.fluid.38.050304.092129.
Over the past four decades, the combination of in situ and remote sensing observations has demonstrated that long nonlinear internal solitary-like waves are ubiquitous features of coastal oceans. The following provides an overview of the properties of steady internal solitary waves and the transient processes of wave generation and evolution, primarily from the point of view of weakly nonlinear theory, of which the Korteweg-de Vries equation is the most frequently used example. However, the oceanographically important processes of wave instability and breaking, generally inaccessible with these models, are also discussed. Furthermore, observations often show strongly nonlinear waves whose properties can only be explained with fully nonlinear models.
support from NSF and ONR and an Independent Study Award from the
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. WKM acknowledges support from NSF and
ONR, which has made his work in this area possible, in close collaboration with former
graduate students at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and MIT.
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