Excitation of rogue waves in a variable medium: An experimental study on the interaction of water waves and currents

A. Toffoli, T. Waseda, H. Houtani, T. Kinoshita, K. Collins, Davide Proment, M. Onorato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)


We show experimentally that a stable wave propagating into a region characterized by an opposite current may become modulationally unstable. Experiments have been performed in two independent wave tank facilities; both of them are equipped with a wavemaker and a pump for generating a current propagating in the opposite direction with respect to the waves. The experimental results support a recent conjecture based on a current-modified nonlinear Schrödinger equation which establishes that rogue waves can be triggered by a nonhomogeneous current characterized by a negative horizontal velocity gradient.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)051201
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 29 May 2013

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