The magnetic non-hydrostatic shallow-water model

David Gerard Dritschel*, Steven M. Tobias

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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We consider the dynamics of a set of reduced equations describing the evolution of a magnetised, rotating stably stratified fluid layer, atop a stagnant dense, perfectly conducting layer. We consider two closely related models. In the first, the layer has, above it, relatively light fluid where the magnetic pressure is much larger than the gas pressure, and the magnetic field is largely force-free. In the second model, the magnetic field is constrained to lie within the dynamical layer by the implementation of a model diffusion operator for the magnetic field. The model derivation proceeds by assuming that the horizontal velocity and the horizontal magnetic field are independent of the vertical coordinate, whilst the vertical components in the layer have a linear dependence on height. The full system comprises evolution equations for the magnetic field, horizontal velocity and height field together with a linear elliptic equation for the vertically integrated non-hydrostatic pressure. In the magneto-hydrostatic limit, these equations simplify to equations of shallow-water type. Numerical solutions for both models are provided for the fiducial case of a Gaussian vortex interacting with a magnetic field. The solutions are shown to differ negligibly. We investigate how the interaction of the vortex changes in response to the magnetic Reynolds number Rm, the Rossby deformation radius LD, and a Coriolis buoyancy frequency ratio f/N measuring the significance of non-hydrostatic effects. The magneto-hydrostatic limit corresponds to f/N→0.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberA17
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Early online date17 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2023


  • Shallow water flows
  • Magnetic fluids
  • Contour dynamics


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