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Shallow-water vortex equilibria and their stability

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Abstract

We first describe the equilibrium form and stability of steadily-rotating simply-connected vortex patches in the single-layer quasi-geostrophic model of geophysical fluid dynamics. This model, valid for rotating shallow-water flow in the limit of small Rossby and Froude numbers, has an intrinsic length scale L called the "Rossby deformation length" relating the strength of stratification to that of the background rotation rate. Specifically, L = c/f where c = √gH is a characteristic gravity-wave speed, g is gravity (or "reduced" gravity in a two-layer context where one layer is infinitely deep), H is the mean active layer depth, and f is the Coriolis frequency (here constant). We next introduce ageostrophic effects by using the full shallow-water model to generate what we call "quasi-equilibria". These equilibria are not strictly steady, but radiate such weak gravity waves that they are steady for all practical purposes. Through an artificial ramping procedure, we ramp up the potential vorticity anomaly of the fluid particles in our quasi-geostrophic equilibria to obtain shallow-water quasi-equilibria at finite Rossby number. We show a few examples of these states in this paper.
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Original languageEnglish
Article number062019
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Physics: Conference Series
Volume318
Issue numberSection 6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011

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