Statistical state dynamics of jet-wave coexistence in barotropic beta-plane turbulence

TitleStatistical state dynamics of jet-wave coexistence in barotropic beta-plane turbulence
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsConstantinou N.C, Farrell B.F, Ioannou P.J
JournalJournal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Date Published2016/05
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0022-4928
Accession NumberWOS:000375952700021
Keywordsatmosphere; baroclinic turbulence; emergence; equations; flows; instability; low-frequency variability; motion; stability; zonal jets

Jets coexist with planetary-scale waves in the turbulence of planetary atmospheres. The coherent component of these structures arises from cooperative interaction between the coherent structures and the incoherent small-scale turbulence in which they are embedded. It follows that theoretical understanding of the dynamics of jets and planetary-scale waves requires adopting the perspective of statistical state dynamics (SSD), which comprises the dynamics of the interaction between coherent and incoherent components in the turbulent state. In this work, the stochastic structural stability theory (S3T) implementation of SSD for barotropic beta-plane turbulence is used to develop a theory for the jet-wave coexistence regime by separating the coherent motions consisting of the zonal jets together with a selection of large-scale waves from the smaller-scale motions that constitute the incoherent component. It is found that mean flow-turbulence interaction gives rise to jets that coexist with large-scale coherent waves in a synergistic manner. Large-scale waves that would exist only as damped modes in the laminar jet are found to be transformed into exponentially growing waves by interaction with the incoherent small-scale turbulence, which results in a change in the mode structure, allowing the mode to tap the energy of the mean jet. This mechanism of destabilization differs fundamentally and serves to augment the more familiar S3T instabilities in which jets and waves arise from homogeneous turbulence with the energy source exclusively from the incoherent eddy field and provides further insight into the cooperative dynamics of the jet-wave coexistence regime in planetary turbulence.

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