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Published July 1967 | Published
Journal Article Open

The Krakatoa Air-Sea Waves: an Example of Pulse Propagation in Coupled Systems


The theory of pulse propagation in an atmosphere coupled to an ocean is applied to the air-sea waves excited by the explosion of the volcano Krakatoa. Numerical results for a realistic atmosphere-ocean system show that the principal air pulse corresponds to the fundamental gravity mode GR_0. A small sea wave is associated with the mode GW_0 with phase velocities close to the √(gh) velocity of the ocean. Free waves with this velocity exist in the atmosphere and transfer energy to the ocean in an efficient manner. These air waves 'jump' over land barriers and re-excite the sea waves. An explosion of 100–150 megatons is required to produce the equivalent of the Krakatoa pressure disturbance.

Additional Information

© 1967 The Royal Astronomical Society. This research was supported by the Advanced Research Projects Agency and was monitored by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research under contracts AF 49(638)-1632 with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and AF 49(638)-1693 with Brown University.

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Published - Geophys._J._Int.-1967-Harkrider-149-59.pdf


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