Water-depth identification from free-surface data using the KdV-based nonlinear Fourier transform

More Info


We propose a novel method to determine the average water depth from shallow, weakly nonlinear water waves that are approximated by the Korteweg-de Vries equation. Our identification method only requires free-surface measurements from two wave gauges aligned in the direction of wave propagation. The method we propose is based on comparing solitonic components in wave packets, which are computed using the nonlinear Fourier transform (NFT) (typical time-series data often contains at least some solitonic components, even when these components are not directly visible). When the correct water depth is used for the normalisation of the wave, the solitonic components found by the NFT remain constant as the wave packet propagates, whereas any other water depth will result in solitonic components that do not remain constant. The basic idea is thus to iteratively determine the water depth that leads to a best fit between the solitonic components of time series measurements at two different gauge positions. We present a proof-of-concept on experimental bore data generated in a wave flume, where the identified water depth is within 5% of the measured value.