Spontaneous generation and impact of inertia-gravity waves in a stratified, two-layer shear flow
Williams, P. D. (2003) Spontaneous generation and impact of inertia-gravity waves in a stratified, two-layer shear flow. Geophysical Research Letters, 30 (24). 2255. ISSN 0094-8276
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1029/2003GL018498
Inertia-gravity waves exist ubiquitously throughout the stratified parts of the atmosphere and ocean. They are generated by local velocity shears, interactions with topography, and as geostrophic (or spontaneous) adjustment radiation. Relatively little is known about the details of their interaction with the large-scale flow, however. We report on a joint model/laboratory study of a flow in which inertia-gravity waves are generated as spontaneous adjustment radiation by an evolving large-scale mode. We show that their subsequent impact upon the large-scale dynamics is generally small. However, near a potential transition from one large-scale mode to another, in a flow which is simultaneously baroclinically-unstable to more than one mode, the inertia-gravity waves may strongly influence the selection of the mode which actually occurs.