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An exact local conservation theorem for finite-amplitude disturbances to non-parallel shear flows, with remarks on Hamiltonian structure and on Arnol'd's stability theorems

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Mcintyre, M. E. and Shepherd, T. G. (1987) An exact local conservation theorem for finite-amplitude disturbances to non-parallel shear flows, with remarks on Hamiltonian structure and on Arnol'd's stability theorems. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 181 (1). p. 527. ISSN 0022-1120

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To link to this article DOI: 10.1017/S0022112087002209

Abstract/Summary

Disturbances of arbitrary amplitude are superposed on a basic flow which is assumed to be steady and either (a) two-dimensional, homogeneous, and incompressible (rotating or non-rotating) or (b) stably stratified and quasi-geostrophic. Flow over shallow topography is allowed in either case. The basic flow, as well as the disturbance, is assumed to be subject neither to external forcing nor to dissipative processes like viscosity. An exact, local ‘wave-activity conservation theorem’ is derived in which the density A and flux F are second-order ‘wave properties’ or ‘disturbance properties’, meaning that they are O(a2) in magnitude as disturbance amplitude a [rightward arrow] 0, and that they are evaluable correct to O(a2) from linear theory, to O(a3) from second-order theory, and so on to higher orders in a. For a disturbance in the form of a single, slowly varying, non-stationary Rossby wavetrain, $\overline{F}/\overline{A}$ reduces approximately to the Rossby-wave group velocity, where (${}^{-}$) is an appropriate averaging operator. F and A have the formal appearance of Eulerian quantities, but generally involve a multivalued function the correct branch of which requires a certain amount of Lagrangian information for its determination. It is shown that, in a certain sense, the construction of conservable, quasi-Eulerian wave properties like A is unique and that the multivaluedness is inescapable in general. The connection with the concepts of pseudoenergy (quasi-energy), pseudomomentum (quasi-momentum), and ‘Eliassen-Palm wave activity’ is noted. The relationship of this and similar conservation theorems to dynamical fundamentals and to Arnol'd's nonlinear stability theorems is discussed in the light of recent advances in Hamiltonian dynamics. These show where such conservation theorems come from and how to construct them in other cases. An elementary proof of the Hamiltonian structure of two-dimensional Eulerian vortex dynamics is put on record, with explicit attention to the boundary conditions. The connection between Arnol'd's second stability theorem and the suppression of shear and self-tuning resonant instabilities by boundary constraints is discussed, and a finite-amplitude counterpart to Rayleigh's inflection-point theorem noted

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:32993
Publisher:Cambridge University Press

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