An asymptotic model is developed for the parametric subharmonic instability (PSI) of finite-width nearly monochromatic internal gravity wave beams in the presence of a background constant horizontal mean flow. The subharmonic perturbations are taken to be short-scale wavepackets that may extract energy via resonant triad interactions while in contact with the underlying beam, and the mean flow is assumed to be small so that its advection effect on the perturbations is as important as dispersion, triad nonlinearity and viscous dissipation. In this ‘distinguished limit’, the perturbation dynamics are governed by the same evolution equations as those derived in Karimi & Akylas (J. Fluid Mech., vol. 757, 2014, pp. 381–402), except for a mean flow term that affects the group velocity of the perturbations and imposes an additional necessary condition for PSI, which stabilizes very short-scale perturbations. As a result, it is possible for a small amount of mean flow to weaken PSI dramatically.
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