Equatorial inertial instability with full Coriolis force

TitleEquatorial inertial instability with full Coriolis force
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsKloosterziel RC, Carnevale GF, Orlandi P
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Date Published2017/08
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0022-1120
Accession NumberWOS:000406071000006
Keywordsapproximation; atmosphere; beta-plane; centrifugal-type instabilities; criterion; nonlinear instability; ocean processes; pacific-ocean; rotating flows; saturation; shear flows; symmetric stability; vertical scale selection

The zonally symmetric inertial instability of oceanic near-equatorial flows is studied through high-resolution numerical simulations. In homogeneous upper layers, the instability of surface-confined westward currents implies potentially fast downward mixing of momentum with a predictable final equilibrium. With increasing Reynolds number, latitudinal scales along the surface associated with the instability become ever smaller and initially the motions are ever more concentrated underneath the surface. The results suggest that even if the upper layer is stratified, it may still be necessary to include the full Coriolis force in the dynamics rather than use the traditional beta-plane approximation.

Short TitleJ. Fluid Mech.
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