9R72. Environmental Stratified Flows. Topics in Environmental Fluid Mechanics, Vol 3. - R Grimshaw (Dept of Math Sci, Loughborough Univ, UK). Kluwer Acad Publ, Dordrecht, Netherlands. 2002. 284 pp. ISBN 0-7923-7605-6. $135.00.
Reviewed by O Phillips (Dept of Earth and Planet Sci, Johns Hopkins Univ, Charles and 34th St, Baltimore MD 21218-2681).
This book is a collection of technical essays on some topics of current interest in environmental fluid mechanics. Though numerous references are given at the end of each essay, the individual chapter is generally not a broad review of some aspect of the field, but a detailed exposition of some part of it. The authors are all well known in the field, with cumulatively impressive authority, but the casual reader, even though educated in fluid mechanics, may find the book to be hard going.
The first three chapters are all on various aspects of solitary internal waves. The first, by the editor Grimshaw himself, is concerned largely with developing the variable-coefficient, extended Kortweg-de Vries (KdV) equation, and its two-dimensional extension, with a fair degree of rigor, but with an eye towards application to unsteady solitary waves and non-dissipative undular bores. Peter Holloway and Efin Pelinovsky apply the KdV equation with added bottom stress and Coriolis terms, to the evolution of internal tides and long internal waves as they propagate over variable bottom topography of the continental slope and shelf. A good database from the northwest Australian shelf allows detailed comparison with numerical simulations. James Rottman and Roger Grimshaw consider the atmospheric counterparts, particularly the Morning Glory, a spectacular, but unthreatening low-level solitary wave that sweeps across the southern coast of the Gulf of Carpentaria in Northern Australia. Similar events seem to occur in the eastern United States, though stronger topographic effects may complicate observation. James Rottman and Paul Linden do give a good review of the basics of gravity currents, quasi-horizontal flows of one fluid into surrounding fluid of another density, and include good field and laboratory photographs that are worth quite a few thousand words. Ron Smith surveys stratified flows over topography, giving a bibliography of over 100 useful references. Harindra Fernando’s essay on turbulence in stratified fluids can hardly do justice to the intricacies of entrainment, turbulent “blini” and fossil turbulence, but some of the themes are picked up by Don Boyer and A Srdic-Mitrovic on laboratory observations of flow past obstacles. The final chapter by Larry Redekopp sketches the various cases of flow instability, referring the reader to Turner’s well-known monograph, older but more physical and more comprehensive in scope. The index of the book is cursory.
There is valuable content in Environmental Stratified Flows, but it is marred by so many word-processing glitches, that this reviewer wonders whether page proofs still exist. If they do, it is almost certain that nobody looked at them. In the editor’s preface, authors’ names occur randomly in italic and roman script. The sub-heading and text at the bottom of page 129 appear also at the top of page 130. The font size changes for no apparent reason in the middle of page 162. Blank half pages occur mysteriously on pages 205 and 206. There are many more examples. It is a great pity that the careful work of the authors has been undermined by such sloppy presentation of the book.