A baroclinic instability that couples balanced motions and gravity waves

R Plougonven, D J Muraki, C Snyder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Normal modes of a linear vertical shear (Eady shear) are studied within the linearized primitive equations for a rotating stratified fluid above a rigid lower boundary. The authors' interest is in modes having an inertial critical layer present at some height within the flow. Below this layer, the solutions can be closely approximated by balanced edge waves obtained through ail asymptotic expansion in Rossby number. Above, the solutions behave as gravity waves. Hence these modes are an example of a spatial coupling of balanced motions to gravity waves.

The amplitude of the gravity waves relative to the balanced part of the Solutions is obtained analytically and numerically as a function of parameters. It is shown that the waves are exponentially small in Rossby number. Moreover, their amplitude depends in a nontrivial way on the meridional wavenumber. For modes having a radiating upper boundary condition, the meridional wavenumber for which the gravity wave amplitude is maximal occurs when the tilts of the balanced edge wave and gravity waves agree.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1545-1559
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Volume62
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2005

Keywords

  • UNIFORM POTENTIAL VORTICITY
  • BACK-SHEARED FLOW
  • SLOW QUASIMANIFOLD
  • STABILITY
  • PROPAGATION
  • GENERATION
  • VORTEX
  • MODEL
  • INITIALIZATION
  • FRONTOGENESIS

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