Rossby waves and zonons in zonostrophic turbulence

Semion Sukoriansky, Nadejda Dikovskaya, Roger Grimshaw, Boris Galperin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-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
Title of host publicationWaves and Instabilities in Space and Astrophysical Plasmas
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

Publication series

NameAIP Conference Proceedings
ISSN (Print)0094-243X
ISSN (Electronic)1551-7616


ConferenceWorkshop on Waves and Instabilities in Space and Astrophysical Plasmas


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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