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Wavenumber transition and hysteresis in a highly unstable baroclinic flow are investigated using a highresolution spectral numerical model. As the flow becomes more supercritical, the dominant wave gradually shifts from the most unstable wave predicted by the linear theory to a longer wave with a larger time-averaged amplitude, while the rectified mean flow attains a stronger shear at the center of the channel. The numerical results display a complex hysteresis behavior, which occurs not onlydoi:10.1175/1520-0469(1995)052<3236:wsahin>2.0.co;2 fatcat:tw47mb5q4zhsnh6ymgdu7pm3rm