Articles | Volume 18, issue 2
Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 18, 193–208, 2011

Special issue: Large amplitude internal waves in the coastal ocean

Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 18, 193–208, 2011

Research article 11 Mar 2011

Research article | 11 Mar 2011

Resurrecting dead-water phenomenon

M. J. Mercier1,*, R. Vasseur1,**, and T. Dauxois1 M. J. Mercier et al.
  • 1Université de Lyon, Laboratoire de Physique de l'École Normale Supérieure de Lyon, CNRS, France
  • *now at: Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT, Cambridge, MA 01239, USA
  • **now at: Institut de Physique Théorique, CEA Saclay, 91191 Gif Sur Yvette, France and LPTENS, Ecole Normale Supérieure, 24 rue Lhomond, 75231 Paris, France

Abstract. We revisit experimental studies performed by Ekman on dead-water (Ekman, 1904) using modern techniques in order to present new insights on this peculiar phenomenon. We extend its description to more general situations such as a three-layer fluid or a linearly stratified fluid in presence of a pycnocline, showing the robustness of dead-water phenomenon. We observe large amplitude nonlinear internal waves which are coupled to the boat dynamics, and we emphasize that the modeling of the wave-induced drag requires more analysis, taking into account nonlinear effects.

Dedicated to Fridtjöf Nansen born 150 yr ago (10 October 1861).