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Nonlinear phase bores in drift wave-zonal flow dynamics

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A minimal model of nonlinear phase dynamics in drift waves is shown to support phase bore solutions. Coupled nonlinear equations for amplitude, phase, and zonal flow are derived for the Hasegawa-Mima system and specialized to the case of spatiotemporally constant amplitude. In that limit, phase curvature (finite second derivative of the phase with respect to the radius) alone generates propagating shear flows. The phase field evolves nonlinearly by a competition between phase steepening and dispersion. The analytical solution of the model reveals that the phase bore solutions so obtained realize the concept of a phase slip in a concrete dynamical model of drift wave dynamics. The implications for phase turbulence are discussed.

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