Propagation of a finite-amplitude potential vorticity front along the wall of a stratified fluid
Stern, Melvin E.
Helfrich, Karl R.
MetadataShow full item record
A similarity solution to the long-wave shallow-water equations is obtained for a density current (reduced gravity = g[prime prime or minute], Coriolis parameter = f) propagating alongshore (y = 0). The potential vorticity q = f/H1 is uniform in [minus sign][infty infinity] < x [less-than-or-eq, slant] xnose(t), 0 < y [less-than-or-eq, slant] L(x, t), and the nose of this advancing potential vorticity front displaces fluid of greater q = f/H0, which is located at L < y < [infty infinity]. If L0 = L([minus sign][infty infinity], t), the nose point with L(xnose(t), t) = 0 moves with velocity Unose = [surd radical]g[prime prime or minute]H0 [phi], where [phi] is a function of H1/H0, f2L20/g[prime prime or minute]H0. The assumptions made in the similarity theory are verified by an initial value solution of the complete reduced-gravity shallow-water equations. The latter also reveal the new effect of a Kelvin shock wave colliding with a potential vorticity front, as is confirmed by a laboratory experiment. Also confirmed is the expansion wave structure of the intrusion, but the observed values of Unose are only in qualitative agreement; the difference is attributed to the presence of small-scale (non-hydrostatic) turbulence in the laboratory experiment but not in the numerical solutions.
Author Posting. © Cambridge University Press, 2002. This article is posted here by permission of Cambridge University Press for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Fluid Mechanics 468 (2002): 179-204, doi:10.1017/S0022112002001520.
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Formation of intrathermocline eddies at ocean fronts by wind-driven destruction of potential vorticity Thomas, Leif N. (2008-02)A mechanism for the generation of intrathermocline eddies (ITEs) at wind-forced fronts is examined using a high resolution numerical simulation. Favorable conditions for ITE formation result at fronts forced by “down-front” ...
Petterssen, Sverre; Austin, James Murdoch (Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 1942-01)Soon after the discovery of the polar front, it was realized that fronts were subject to processes which either increased or diminished their intensity. Thus, fronts may form in fields where the distributiori of the ...
Hall, Melinda M. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 1985-02)From October, 1982 to October, 1983 a current meter mooring reaching from the bottom into the thermocline was deployed for the first time in the Gulf Stream at 68°W. The temperatures, pressures, and velocities at the ...