Repository: Freie Universität Berlin, Math Department

Finite-amplitude gravity waves in the atmosphere: travelling wave solutions

Schlutow, M. and Klein, R. and Achatz, U. (2017) Finite-amplitude gravity waves in the atmosphere: travelling wave solutions. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 826 . pp. 1034-1065.

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Wentzel–Kramers–Brillouin theory was employed by Grimshaw (Geophys. Fluid Dyn., vol. 6, 1974, pp. 131–148) and Achatz et al. (J. Fluid Mech., vol. 210, 2010, pp. 120–147) to derive modulation equations for non-hydrostatic internal gravity wave packets in the atmosphere. This theory allows for wave packet envelopes with vertical extent comparable to the pressure scale height and for large wave amplitudes with wave-induced mean-flow speeds comparable to the local fluctuation velocities. Two classes of exact travelling wave solutions to these nonlinear modulation equations are derived here. The first class involves horizontally propagating wave packets superimposed over rather general background states. In a co-moving frame of reference, examples from this class have a structure akin to stationary mountain lee waves. Numerical simulations corroborate the existence of nearby travelling wave solutions under the pseudo-incompressible model and reveal better than expected convergence with respect to the asymptotic expansion parameter. Travelling wave solutions of the second class also feature a vertical component of their group velocity but exist under isothermal background stratification only. These waves include an interesting nonlinear wave–mean-flow interaction process: a horizontally periodic wave packet propagates vertically while draining energy from the mean wind aloft. In the process it decelerates the lower-level wind. It is shown that the modulation equations apply equally to hydrostatic waves in the limit of large horizontal wavelengths. Aside from these results of direct physical interest, the new nonlinear travelling wave solutions provide a firm basis for subsequent studies of nonlinear internal wave instability and for the design of subtle test cases for numerical flow solvers.

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Mathematical and Computer Sciences > Mathematics > Applied Mathematics
Divisions:Department of Mathematics and Computer Science > Institute of Mathematics > Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Group
ID Code:2275
Deposited By: Ulrike Eickers
Deposited On:08 Aug 2018 08:19
Last Modified:08 Aug 2018 08:19

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