Wave turbulence and intermittency in directional wave fields

Elmira Fadaeiazar, Alberto Alberello, Miguel Onorato, Justin Leontini, Federico Frascoli, Takuji Waseda, Alessandro Toffoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


The evolution of surface gravity waves is driven by nonlinear interactions that trigger an energy cascade similarly to the one observed in hydrodynamic turbulence. This process, known as wave turbulence, has been found to display anomalous scaling with deviation from classical turbulent predictions due to the emergence of coherent and intermittent structures on the water surface. In the ocean, waves are spread over a wide range of directions, with a consequent attenuation of the nonlinear properties. A laboratory experiment in a large wave facility is presented to discuss the sensitivity of wave turbulence on the directional properties of model wave spectra. Results show that the occurrence of coherent and intermittent structures become less likely with the broadening of the wave directional spreading. There is no evidence, however, that intermittency completely vanishes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-101
Number of pages8
JournalWave Motion
Early online date8 Sep 2018
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Intermittency
  • Ocean waves
  • Structure functions
  • Wave motion
  • Wave turbulence

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