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Geostrophic adjustment in a channel: nonlinear and dispersive effects

  • G. G. Tomasson (a1) and W. K. Melville (a1) (a2)


We consider the general problem of geostrophic adjustment in a channel in the weakly nonlinear and dispersive (non-hydrostatic) limit. Governing equations of Boussinesq-type are derived, based on the assumption of weak nonlinear, dispersive and rotational effects, both for surface waves on a homogeneous fluid and internal waves in a two-layer system. Numerical solutions of the Boussinesq equations are presented, giving examples of the geostrophic adjustment in a channel for two different kinds of initial disturbances, both with non-zero perturbation potential vorticity. The timescales of rotational separation (that is, the separation of the Kelvin and Poincaré waves due to their dispersive properties) and that of nonlinear evolution are considered, with particular concern for the resonant interactions of nonlinear Kelvin waves and linear Poincaré waves described by Melville, Tomasson & Renouard (1989). A parameter measuring the ratio of the two timescales is used to predict when the free and forced Poincaré waves may be separated in the solution. It also distinguishes the cases in which the linear solutions are valid for the rotational separation from those requiring the full Boussinesq equations. Finally, solutions for the evolution of nonlinear internal waves in a sea strait are presented, and the effects of friction on the wavefront curvature of the nonlinear Kelvin waves are briefly considered.



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Geostrophic adjustment in a channel: nonlinear and dispersive effects

  • G. G. Tomasson (a1) and W. K. Melville (a1) (a2)


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