We investigate the excitation and radiation of near-inertial internal gravity waves continuously excited by a latitudinally confined temporally fluctuating wind in a numerical model of a stratified ocean on a beta-plane at mid-latitude. The surface wind forcing contains both high- and low-frequency components which excite propagating waves and a baroclinically unstable zonal jet respectively. Wentzel-Kramers-Brillouin (WKB) ray theory implies that near-inertial waves propagate strictly towards the equator. We seek to refine this view here by (i) adding the non-traditional Coriolis force (accounting for the horizontal component of the Earth's rotation) into the equations of motion, in order to allow poleward sub-inertial propagation to occur, and (ii) relaxing the conceptual constraint of no zonal variability, to allow the zonal jet to undergo instability, to meander and to sustain an active field of mesoscale eddies, potentially impacting the excitation of near-inertial waves. The key results are that, while (i) permits weakly stratified waveguides with sub-inertial poleward wave propagation to develop in accord with theory, the sub-inertial energy flux observed is very small compared with the equatorward flux. Thus, in terms of energy radiated from the storm track, non-traditional effects are small for wind-driven near-inertial waves. The consequences of (ii) are much more pronounced. Refinement (ii) produces a radiating wave field that is bidirectional, i.e. with both poleward and equatorward components. We show that the presence of regions of significant background vorticity with horizontal scales significantly smaller than the width of the storm track provides the scale selection mechanism to excite waves with sufficiently super-inertial frequencies to propagate poleward distances of the order of 1000 km.

The dispersion of fluid particles in statistically stationary stably stratified turbulence is studied by means of direct numerical simulations. Due to anisotropy of the flow, horizontal and vertical dispersion show different behavior. Single-particle dispersion in horizorital direction is similar to that in isotropic turbulence for short times, but shows a long-time growth rate proportional to t(2.1 +/- 0.1) , larger than the classical linear diffusion limit. In vertical direction, three successive regimes can be identified: a classical t(2)-regime, a plateau that scales as N(-2) , and a diffusion limit where dispersion is proportional to t. By forcing the flow and performing long-time simulations, we are able to observe this last regime, which was predicted but not observed before in stratified turbulence. This diffusive regime is caused by molecular diffusion of the active scalar (density). The mean squared separation of particle pairs (relative dispersion) in vertical direction shows two plateaus that are not present in isotropic turbulence. They can be associated with the characteristic layered structure of the flow. In the long-time limit again a linear regime is found as for single-particle dispersion. Pair dispersion in horizontal direction behaves similar to that in isotropic turbulence except for long times. Finally, the study of multiparticle statistics in stably stratified turbulent flows is reported. The evolution of tetrads gives an impression of the shape of particle clouds. It is found that with increasing stratification, the volume of the tetrads decreases, and they become flatter and more elongated. (c) 2008 American Institute of Physics.