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The motion of an intense vortex near topography

McDonald, NR; (1998) The motion of an intense vortex near topography. J FLUID MECH , 367 359 - 377. 10.1017/S0022112098001554. Green open access

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The initial value problem for the motion of an intense, quasi-geostrophic, equivalent-barotropic, singular vortex near an infinitely long escarpment is studied in three parts. First, for times small compared to the topographic wave timescale the motion of the vortex is analysed by deriving an expression for the secondary circulation caused by the advection of fluid columns across the escarpment. The secondary circulation, in turn, advects the primary vortex and integral expressions are found for its velocity components. Analytical expressions in terms of integrals are found for the vortex drift velocity components. It is found that, initially, cyclones propagate away from the deep water region and anticyclones propagate away from the shallow water region. Asymptotic evaluation of the integrals shows that both cyclones and anticyclones eventually propagate parallel to the escarpment with shallow water on their right at a steady speed which decays exponentially with distance from the escarpment. Secondly, it is shown that for times comparable to, and larger than, the wave timescale, the vortex always resonates with the topographic wave field. The flux of energy in the topographic waves leads to a loss of energy in the vortex and global energy and momentum arguments are used to derive an equation for the distance (or, equivalently, the vortex velocity) of the vortex from the escarpment. It is shown that cyclones, provided they are initially within an O(1) distance (here a unit of distance is dimensionally equivalent to one Rossby radius of deformation) from the escarpment, drift further away from the deep water (i.e. toward higher ambient potential vorticity), possibly crossing the escarpment and accumulate at a distance of approximate to 1.2 on the shallow side of the escarpment. For distances larger than 1.2 there is essentially no drift of the vortex perpendicular to the escarpment. Anticyclones display similar behaviour except they drift in the opposite direction, i.e. away from the shallow water or toward lower ambient potential vorticity. Third, the method of contour dynamics is used to describe the evolution of the vortex and the interface representing the initial potential vorticity jump between the shallow and deep water regions. The contour dynamic results are in good quantitative agreement with the analytical results.

Type: Article
Title: The motion of an intense vortex near topography
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1017/S0022112098001554
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0022112098001554
Language: English
Additional information: © 1998 Cambridge University Press
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Mathematics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/96859
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