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Instabilities of two-layer shallow-water flows with vertical shear in the rotating annulus

  • J. GULA (a1), V. ZEITLIN (a1) and R. PLOUGONVEN (a1)

Abstract

Being motivated by the recent experiments on instabilities of the two-layer flows in the rotating annulus with super-rotating top, we perform a full stability analysis for such system in the shallow-water approximation. We use the collocation method which is benchmarked by comparison with analytically solvable one-layer shallow-water equations linearized about a state of cyclogeostrophic equilibrium. We describe different kinds of instabilities of the cyclogeostrophically balanced state of solid-body rotation of each layer (baroclinic, Rossby–Kelvin (RK) and Kelvin–Helmholtz (KH) instabilities), and give the corresponding growth rates and the structure of the unstable modes. We obtain the full stability diagram in the space of parameters of the problem and demonstrate the existence of crossover regions where baroclinic and RK, and RK and KH instabilities, respectively, compete having similar growth rates.

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Corresponding author

Email address for correspondence: zeitlin@lmd.ens.fr

References

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Instabilities of two-layer shallow-water flows with vertical shear in the rotating annulus

  • J. GULA (a1), V. ZEITLIN (a1) and R. PLOUGONVEN (a1)

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