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Wave-Vortex Interaction in Rotating Shallow Water. Part 1. One Space Dimension

Kuo, Allen C.; Polvani, Lorenzo M.

Using a physical space (i.e. non-modal) approach, we investigate interactions between fast inertio-gravity (IG) waves and slow balanced flows in a shallow rotating fluid. Specifically, we consider a train of IG waves impinging on a steady, exactly balanced vortex. For simplicity, the one-dimensional problem is studied first; the limitations of one-dimensionality are offset by the ability to define balance in an exact way. An asymptotic analysis of the problem in the small-amplitude limit is performed to demonstrate the existence of interactions. It is shown that these interactions are not confined to the modification of the wave field by the vortex but, more importantly, that the waves are able to alter in a non-trivial way the potential vorticity associated with that vortex. Interestingly, in this one-dimensional problem, once the waves have traversed the vortex region and have propagated away, the vortex exactly recovers its initial shape and thus bears no signature of the interaction. Furthermore, we prove this last result in the case of arbitrary vortex and wave amplitudes. Numerical integrations of the full one-dimensional shallow-water equations in strongly nonlinear regimes are also performed: they confirm that time-dependent interactions exist and increase with wave amplitude, while at the final state the vortex bears no sign of the interaction. In addition, they reveal that cyclonic vortices interact more strongly with the wave field than anticyclonic ones.


Also Published In

Journal of Fluid Mechanics

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