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The gravity wave momentum flux in hydrostatic flow with directional shear over elliptical mountains

Teixeira, M. A. C. and Yu, C. L. (2014) The gravity wave momentum flux in hydrostatic flow with directional shear over elliptical mountains. European Journal of Mechanics & Fluids B: Fluids, 47. pp. 16-31. ISSN 0997-7546

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.euromechflu.2014.02.004


Semi-analytical expressions for the momentum flux associated with orographic internal gravity waves, and closed analytical expressions for its divergence, are derived for inviscid, stationary, hydrostatic, directionally-sheared flow over mountains with an elliptical horizontal cross-section. These calculations, obtained using linear theory conjugated with a third-order WKB approximation, are valid for relatively slowly-varying, but otherwise generic wind profiles, and given in a form that is straightforward to implement in drag parametrization schemes. When normalized by the surface drag in the absence of shear, a quantity that is calculated routinely in existing drag parametrizations, the momentum flux becomes independent of the detailed shape of the orography. Unlike linear theory in the Ri → ∞ limit, the present calculations account for shear-induced amplification or reduction of the surface drag, and partial absorption of the wave momentum flux at critical levels. Profiles of the normalized momentum fluxes obtained using this model and a linear numerical model without the WKB approximation are evaluated and compared for two idealized wind profiles with directional shear, for different Richardson numbers (Ri). Agreement is found to be excellent for the first wind profile (where one of the wind components varies linearly) down to Ri = 0.5, while not so satisfactory, but still showing a large improvement relative to the Ri → ∞ limit, for the second wind profile (where the wind turns with height at a constant rate keeping a constant magnitude). These results are complementary, in the Ri > O(1) parameter range, to Broad’s generalization of the Eliassen–Palm theorem to 3D flow. They should contribute to improve drag parametrizations used in global weather and climate prediction models.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:36164
Uncontrolled Keywords:Flow over orography; Gravity wave drag; Wave momentum flux; Directional wind shear; Linear theory; WKB approximation


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