Rossby waves and zonons in zonostrophic turbulence

Semion Sukoriansky, Nadejda Dikovskaya, Roger Grimshaw, Boris Galperin

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Two-dimensional, small-scale forced turbulent flows on the surface of a rotating sphere, along with the familiar Rossby-Haurwitz waves, reveal a new class of waves termed zonons. The zonons form non-dispersive wave packets that propagate in the westward direction with the velocity equal to the phase speed of the most energetic Rossby-Haurwitz wave. Zonons preserve their identity even after the forcing is switched off and the flow undergoes structural reorganization. Zonons reside in locations with the maximum meridional shear and are engaged in strong energy exchange with themean flow. These physical properties of zonons point to their identitywith Rossby solitary waves. The symbiosis between themean flow and the solitarywaves plays an important role in the large-scale dynamics.

Original languageEnglish GB
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2012
EventWorkshop on Waves and Instabilities in Space and Astrophysical Plasmas - Eilat, Israel
Duration: 19 Jun 201124 Jun 2011


ConferenceWorkshop on Waves and Instabilities in Space and Astrophysical Plasmas


  • Geostrophic turbulence
  • Rossby solitary waves
  • Rossby-Haurwitz waves
  • Zonostrophic turbulence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (all)


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