A scenario for finite-time singularity in the quasigeostrophic model

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25 Citations (Scopus)


A possible route to finite-time singularity in the quasigeostrophic system, via a cascade of filament instabilities of geometrically decreasing spatial and temporal scales, is investigated numerically using a high-resolution hybrid contour dynamical algorithm. A number of initial temperature distributions are considered, of varying degrees of continuity. In all cases, primary, secondary, and tertiary instabilities are apparent before the algorithm loses accuracy due to limitations of finite resolution. Filament instability is also shown to be potentially important in the closing saddle scenario investigated in many previous studies. The results do not provide a rigorous demonstration of finite-time singularity, but suggest avenues for further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)492-502
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011


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