A comparison of frequency downshift models of wave trains on deep water

John D. Carter, Diane Henderson, Isabelle Butterfield

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11 Scopus citations


Frequency downshift (FD) in wave trains on deep water occurs when a measure of the frequency, typically the spectral peak or the spectral mean, decreases as the waves evolve. Many FD models rely on wind or wave breaking. We consider seven models that do not include these effects and compare their predictions with four sets of experiments that also do not include these effects. The models are the (i) nonlinear Schrödinger equation (NLS), (ii) dissipative NLS equation (dNLS), (iii) Dysthe equation, (iv) viscous Dysthe equation (vDysthe), (v) Gordon equation (Gordon), which has a free parameter, (vi) Islas-Schober equation (IS), which has a free parameter, and (vii) a new model, the dissipative Gramstad-Trulsen (dGT) equation. The dGT equation has no free parameters and addresses some of the difficulties associated with the vDysthe equation. We compare a measure of overall error and the evolution of the spectral amplitudes, means, and peaks. We find the following: (i) The NLS and Dysthe equations do not accurately predict the spectral amplitudes. (ii) The Gordon equation, which is a successful model of FD in optics, does not accurately model FD in water waves, regardless of the choice of free parameter. (iii) The dNLS, vDysthe, dGT, and IS (with optimized free parameter) models do a reasonable job predicting the measured spectral amplitudes, but none captures all spectral evolutions. (iv) The vDysthe, dGT, and IS models most accurately predict the observed evolution of the spectral peak and the spectral mean. (v) The IS and vDysthe models have the smallest overall errors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number013103
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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