Postdoctoral Scholarships in Surface Waves in a Compressible Ocean with an Application to Early Tsunami Detection, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Israel

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Post-doctoral Scholarship sponsored by Technion-Israel Institute of Technology
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Post Doc - Surface Waves in a Compressible Ocean with an Application to Early Tsunami Detection

Prof. Michael Stiassnie is seeking a suitable qualified student to undertake a Post-Doctoral study in developing theoretical techniques to study surface waves in a compressible ocean, under his supervision.

About Technion:
For more than eight decades, the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, which is located in Haifa, has been Israel’s primary technological university and the largest center of applied research. It is ranked among the leading technological universities in the world. The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering has 60 senior faculty members active in research and education, and they currently supervise the education of ~900 undergraduate students, ~240 master degree students, ~85 doctor students, and ~10 post-doctoral students.

Project Abstract:
The overwhelming majority of ocean-waves studies ignore the minute compressibility of the water, which is expected to have, and in most cases has, negligible effects on the main physical processes. However, a rather straightforward analysis of the linearized problem in constant water depth reveals that for any wave period smaller than 4 times the water depth to the speed of sound ratio; accounting for compressibility gives rise to at least one additional propagating mode. This is rather different from the situation in an incompressible ocean, for which only one propagating mode exists. A disturbance at the ocean floor, such as caused by a submarine earthquake, produces many different modes. Most of this modes are non-propagating (evanescent), and of local importance only. However, the Gravity-Acoustic mode, and the leading Acoustic-Gravity mode propagate away from the earthquake site, and travel to a great distance. The Acoustic-Gravity wave travels significantly faster than the Gravity-Acoustic wave, and thus, is a possible candidate for an early warning about the approach of the Gravity-Acoustic wave which evolves into a tsunami when it hits the coast. The main goals of this research are:

  1. provide a ground-breaking theoretical study of the physics of surface-waves on a compressible fluid. The relatively small amount of published material on this topic seems to have left a “vast-territory” which awaits its ground to be broken; and 
  2. to investigate the application of utilizing the Acoustic-Gravity waves for early detection of tsunami (the Gravity-Acoustic wave). This is of a certain risk, since it is not clear that, in case of realistic scenarios and geometries, the free surface-elevation, the flow velocities, or the pressure of the Acoustic-Gravity waves will be strong enough, compared to the background noise, to enable their measurement. If however, they will be found measurable by existing instruments, and enable early detection of tsunamis, then the high-gain is self evident.

Selection Criteria

  1. Ph.D. degree related to fluid-mechanics, obtained not earlier than 31.12.2007 (essential)
  2. Strong analytical and mathematical skills (essential)
  3. A good working knowledge of programming (desirable)
  4. A good knowledge of English (desirable)
  5. Experience in water-waves related research (advantage)

Commencement Date: January 2010 or earlier

Between US$ 18,000 to US$ 30,000 (depending on qualifications and background) per annum, tax exempt.

Duration: two or three years

Application and Contact
Professor Michael Stiassnie
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Division of Environmental, Water and Agricultural Engineering
Technion-Israel Institute of Technology
Haifa 32000, Israel

Tel: +972-4-8293361 ; Fax: +972-4-8228898
e-mail: miky[ at ]

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure the above information is current and correct. However, applicants should contact the appropriate administering body before making an application, as details do change frequently.


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