Gravity Wave Generation in Balanced Sheared Flow Revisited

Dirk.Olbers [ at ]


The generation of internal gravity waves from an initially geostrophically balanced flow is diagnosed in nonhydrostatic numerical simulations of shear instabilities for varied dynamical regimes. A nonlinear decomposition method up to third order in the Rossby number (Ro) is used as the diagnostic tool for a consistent separation of the balanced and unbalanced motions in the presence of their nonlinear coupling. Wave emission is investigated in an Eady-like and a jet-like flow. For the jet-like case, geostrophic and ageostrophic unstable modes are used to initialize the flow in different simulations. Gravity wave emission is in general very weak over a range of values for Ro. At sufficiently high Ro, however, when the condition for symmetric instability is satisfied with negative values of local potential vorticity, significant wave emission is detected even at the lowest order. This is related to the occurrence of fast ageostrophic instability modes, generating a wide spectrum of waves. Thus, gravity waves are excited from the instability of the balanced mode to lowest order only if the condition of symmetric instability is satisfied and ageostrophic unstable modes obtain finite growth rates.

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DOI 10.1175/JPO-D-21-0115.1

Cite as
Chouksey, M. , Eden, C. and Olbers, D. (2022): Gravity Wave Generation in Balanced Sheared Flow Revisited , Journal of Physical Oceanography, 52 (7), pp. 1351-1362 . doi: 10.1175/JPO-D-21-0115.1

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