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Carnevale, GF, Kloosterziel RC, Orlandi P.  2013.  Inertial and barotropic instabilities of a free current in three-dimensional rotating flow. Journal of Fluid Mechanics. 725:117-151.   10.1017/jfm.2013.191   AbstractWebsite

A current in a homogeneous rotating fluid is subject to simultaneous inertial and barotropic instabilities. Inertial instability causes rapid mixing of streamwise absolute linear momentum and alters the vertically averaged velocity profile of the current. The resulting profile can be predicted by a construction based on absolute-momentum conservation. The alteration of the mean velocity profile strongly affects how barotropic instability will subsequently change the flow. If a current with a symmetric distribution of cyclonic and anticyclonic vorticity undergoes only barotropic instability, the result will be cyclones and anticyclones of the same shape and amplitude. Inertial instability breaks this symmetry. The combined effect of inertial and barotropic instability produces anticyclones that are broader and weaker than the cyclones. A two-step scheme for predicting the result of the combined inertial and barotropic instabilities is proposed and tested. This scheme uses the construction for the redistribution of streamwise absolute linear momentum to predict the mean current that results from inertial instability and then uses this equilibrated current as the initial condition for a two- dimensional simulation that predicts the result of the subsequent barotropic instability. Predictions are made for the evolution of a Gaussian jet and are compared with three-dimensional simulations for a range of Rossby numbers. It is demonstrated that the actual redistribution of absolute momentum in the three-dimensional simulations is well predicted by the construction used here. Predictions are also made for the final number and size of vortices that result from the combined inertial and barotropic instabilities.

Kloosterziel, RC, Carnevale GF, Orlandi P.  2007.  Inertial instability in rotating and stratified fluids: barotropic vortices. Journal of Fluid Mechanics. 583:379-412.   10.1017/s0022112007006325   AbstractWebsite

The unfolding of inertial instability in intially barotropic vortices in a uniformly rotating and stratified fluid is studied through numerical simulations. The vortex dynamics during the instability is examined in detail. We demonstrate that the instability is stabilized via redistribution of angular momentum in a way that produces a new equilibrated barotropic vortex with a stable velocity profile. Based on extrapolations from the results of a series of simulations in which the Reynolds number and strength of stratification are varied, we arrive at a construction based on angular momentum mixing that predicts the infinite-Reynolds-number form of the equilibrated vortex toward which inertial instability drives an unstable vortex. The essential constraint is conservation of total absolute angular momentum. The construction can be used to predict the total energy loss during the equilibration process. It also shows that the equilibration process can result in anticyclones that are more susceptible to horizontal shear instabilities than they were initially, a phenomenon previously observed in laboratory and numerical studies.