Mean motions induced by baroclinic instability in a jet
Shepherd, T. G. (1983) Mean motions induced by baroclinic instability in a jet. Geophysical & Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics, 27 (1-2). pp. 35-72. ISSN 1029-0419
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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/03091928308210120
A study is made of the zonal-mean motions induced by a growing baroclinic wave in several contexts, under the framework of three different analysis schemes: the conventional Eulerian mean (EM), the transformed Eulerian mean (TEM), and the generalized Lagrangian mean (GLM). The effect of meridional shear in the initial jet on these induced mean motions is considered by treating the instability problem in the context of the two-layer model. The conceptual simplicity of the TEM formulation is shown to be useful in diagnosing the dynamics of instability, much as it has been found helpful in many problems of wave, mean-flow interaction. In addition, it is found that the TEM vertical velocity is a very good indicator of the GLM vertical velocity. However, the GLM meridional velocity is always convergent towards the centre of instability activity, and is not at all well represented by the nondivergent TEM meridional velocity. In comparing the results with Uryu's (1979) calculation of the GLM circulation induced by a growing Eady wave, it is found that the inclusion of meridional jet shear in the present work leads to some strikingly different effects in the GLM zonal wind acceleration. In the case of pure baroclinic instability treated by Uryu, the Eulerian and Stokes accelerations nearly cancel each other in the centre of the channel, leaving a weak Lagrangian acceleration opposed to the Eulerian one. In the more general case of mixed baroclinic-barotropic instability, however, the Eulerian and Stokes accelerations can reinforce one another, leading to a very strong Lagrangian zonal wind