A continuum (Mullins-type) model is proposed for the nonisothermal, isotropic evolution of a crystal surface on which mass transport occurs by surface diffusion. The departure from constant temperature is assumed induced by incident pulsed radiation. It has been shown experimentally and theoretically [see, e.g., Yakunkin, High Temp. 26, 585 (1988); Yilbas and Kalyon, J. Phys. D. 34, 222 (2001)] ... [Show full abstract] that such a heating mode gives rise to the quasistationary regime, in which the surface temperature of a thick solid film oscillates about the mean value with the pulse repetition frequency. The implications of oscillatory driving with high frequency values on relaxation of surface ripples are examined; in particular, the traveling wave solutions with decreasing amplitude are detected numerically. Pulsed heating also results in faster smoothing of the ripple, compared to the case when the surface is at constant temperature which is same as the mean temperature in the pulsed heating mode. Impact on ripple shape is minor for ripple amplitudes considered.