A Baroclinic Instability that Couples Balanced Motions and Gravity Waves

Riwal Plougonven, David J. Muraki, Chris Snyder
2005 Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences  
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 an asymptotic expansion in Rossby number. Above, the solutions behave as gravity waves. Hence these modes are an example
more » ... es 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.
doi:10.1175/jas3426.1 fatcat:t7p4p7wzc5a5fnvhvqdshx4bna