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Research Fellows Directory

Paul Milewski

Professor Paul Milewski

Research Fellow


University of Bath

Research summary

My research is centred on understanding wave dynamics in geophysical flows and in laboratory experiments, from the small scales of a few millimetres - such as ripples on a vibrated fluid vessel - to thousands of kilometres in certain atmospheric equatorial planetary waves.

The waves I study are highly nonlinear and complex: unlike most sound and light waves, their behaviour depends on their intensity and that their mathematical description is extremely challenging. I combine mathematical modelling, mathematical analysis and scientific computation to obtain an understanding both qualitative and quantitative of the wave dynamics.

I am currently working on two main areas: surface and internal waves. Internal waves are waves that propagate inside a fluid due to density stratification. The ocean is an example, since the density of ocean water varies with depth due to temperature and salinity. These internal waves redistribute energy in the fluid and also, in certain cases, break and mix the fluid, changing the very stratification upon which they propagate. These processes are central to the understanding of atmospheric and ocean flows, with broad impact on climate science. Surface waves are those you sees on a pond or the ocean and I am particularly interested in the generation of ripples by wind, the propagation of waves on ice covered water, and a new, experimentally discovered, hydrodynamic quantum analogue. The generation of ripples by wind has applications to radar remote sensing of the ocean and to atmosphere-ocean interactions. Waves under ice covered water has applications in the understanding of ice sheet behaviour including due to climate change. The hydrodynamic quantum analogue is a clever configuration of a vibrating fluid vessel upon which droplets travel and interact. Their behaviour mimics many feature previously thought to be unique to the quantum realm.

Grants awarded

Three-dimensional solitary waves: from wind ripples to waves on floating ice

Scheme: Wolfson Research Merit Awards

Dates: Aug 2011 - Jul 2016

Value: £125,000