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Download file# Variability of geostrophic mass in the presence of a long boundary and related Kelvin wave

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posted on 22.07.2005, 14:59 by G.M. Reznik, G.G. SutyrinWe analyze an evolution of a localized flow in a half-plane bounded by a rigid wall when the total mass is not conserved within the equivalent-barotropic quasigeo-strophic (QG) approximation. A simple formula expressing the total geostrophic mass in terms of the QG potential vorticity is derived and used to estimate the range of the geostrophic mass variability. Behaviour of the total mass is analysed for the system of two point vortices interacting with the wall. Distributed localized perturbations are examined by means of numerical experiments using the QG model. Two types of time variability of the total geostrophic mass are revealed: oscillating (the mass oscillates near some mean value) and limiting one (the mass tends to some constant value with increasing times).
In the framework of a rotating shallow water model, the QG model is known to describe the slow evolution of the geostrophic vorticity assuming the Rossby number to be small. Consideration of the next-order dynamics shows that conservation of the total mass and circulation is provided by a compensating jet taking away the surplus, or shortage of mass from the localized geostrophic disturbance. The along-wall jet expands with the fast speed of Kelvin waves to the right of the initial perturbation. The slow time-dependent amplitude determines the jet sign and intensity at each moment. Dynamics of the compensating jet are discussed for both oscillating and limiting regimes revealed by the QG analysis.
The role of Kelvin waves in establishing the usual Phillips condition for conservation of circulation of the along-wall QG velocity is discussed. In the case of periodic motion or motion in a finite domain, the considered approximation of infinitely long boundary can be used if 1) the typical basin scale greatly exceeds typical size of the localized perturbation and the Rossby scale; 2) the time does not exceed the typical time which is required for the Kelvin wave to travel the typical basin scale.

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