Jonas Nycander, Professor, MISU


Steady radiating baroclinic vortices in vertically sheared flows


Baroclinic vortices embedded in a large-scale vertical shear are examined. We describe a new class of steady propagating vortices that radiate Rossby waves but yet do not decay. This is possible since they can extract available potential energy (APE) from a large-scale vertically sheared flow, even though this flow is linearly stable. The vortices generate Rossby waves which induce a meridional vortex drift and an associated heat flux explained by an analysis of pseudomomentum and pseudoenergy. An analytical steady solution is considered for a marginally stable flow in a two-layer model on the beta-plane, where the beta-effect is compensated by the potential vorticity gradient (PVG) associated with the meridional slope of the density interface. The compensation occurs in the upper layer for an upper layer westward flow (an easterly shear) and in the lower layer for an upper layer eastward flow (the westerly shear). The theory is confirmed by numerical simulations indicating that for westward flows in subtropical oceans, the reduced PVG in the upper layer provides favorable conditions for eddy persistence and long-range propagation. The drifting and radiating vortex is an alternative mechanism besides baroclinic instability for converting background APE to mesoscale energy.


Tuesday February 2, 11:15


Remotely via Zoom - link will be distributed via MISU's seminar email announcement.