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Wave-activity conservation laws and stability theorems for semi-geostrophic dynamics: part 2. pseudoenergy-based theory

Kushner, P. J. and Shepherd, T. G. ORCID: (1995) Wave-activity conservation laws and stability theorems for semi-geostrophic dynamics: part 2. pseudoenergy-based theory. Journal Of Fluid Mechanics, 290. pp. 105-129. ISSN 0022-1120

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1017/S0022112095002436


This paper represents the second part of a study of semi-geostrophic (SG) geophysical fluid dynamics. SG dynamics shares certain attractive properties with the better known and more widely used quasi-geostrophic (QG) model, but is also a good prototype for balanced models that are more accurate than QG dynamics. The development of such balanced models is an area of great current interest. The goal of the present work is to extend a central body of QG theory, concerning the evolution of disturbances to prescribed basic states, to SG dynamics. Part 1 was based on the pseudomomentum; Part 2 is based on the pseudoenergy. A pseudoenergy invariant is a conserved quantity, of second order in disturbance amplitude relative to a prescribed steady basic state, which is related to the time symmetry of the system. We derive such an invariant for the semi-geostrophic equations, and use it to obtain: (i) a linear stability theorem analogous to Arnol'd's ‘first theorem’; and (ii) a small-amplitude local conservation law for the invariant, obeying the group-velocity property in the WKB limit. The results are analogous to their quasi-geostrophic forms, and reduce to those forms in the limit of small Rossby number. The results are derived for both the f-plane Boussinesq form of semi-geostrophic dynamics, and its extension to β-plane compressible flow by Magnusdottir & Schubert. Novel features particular to semi-geostrophic dynamics include apparently unnoticed lateral boundary stability criteria. Unlike the boundary stability criteria found in the first part of this study, however, these boundary criteria do not necessarily preclude the construction of provably stable basic states. The interior semi-geostrophic dynamics has an underlying Hamiltonian structure, which guarantees that symmetries in the system correspond naturally to the system's invariants. This is an important motivation for the theoretical approach used in this study. The connection between symmetries and conservation laws is made explicit using Noether's theorem applied to the Eulerian form of the Hamiltonian description of the interior dynamics.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:No Reading authors. Back catalogue items
Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:32893
Publisher:Cambridge University Press


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