Modulational instability in a full-dispersion shallow water model

Vera Mikyoung Hur, Ashish Kumar Pandey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We propose a shallow water model that combines the dispersion relation of water waves and Boussinesq equations, and that extends the Whitham equation to permit bidirectional propagation. We show that its sufficiently small and periodic traveling wave is spectrally unstable to long wavelength perturbations if the wave number is greater than a critical value, like the Benjamin-Feir instability of a Stokes wave. We verify that the associated linear operator possesses infinitely many collisions of purely imaginary eigenvalues, but they do not contribute to instability to the leading order in the amplitude parameter. We discuss the effects of surface tension. The results agree with those from a formal asymptotic expansion and a numerical computation for the physical problem.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-47
Number of pages45
JournalStudies in Applied Mathematics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2019


  • full dispersion
  • modulational instability
  • shallow water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Mathematics


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