Oceanic motion outside thin boundary layers is primarily a mixture of quasi-geostrophic flow and internal waves with either near-inertial frequencies or the frequency of the semidiurnal lunar tide. This dissertation seeks a deeper understanding of waves and flow through reduced models that isolate their nonlinear and coupled evolution from the Boussinesq equations. Three physical-space models are developed: an equation that describes quasi-geostrophic evolution in an arbitrary and prescribed field of hydrostatic internal waves; a three-component model that couples quasi-geostrophic flow to both near-inertial waves and the near-inertial second harmonic; and a model for the slow evolution of hydrostatic internal tides in quasi-geostrophic flow of near-arbitrary scale. This slow internal tide equation opens the path to a coupled model for the energetic interaction of quasi-geostrophic flow and oceanic internal tides.
Four results emerge. First, the wave-averaged quasi-geostrophic equation reveals that finite-amplitude waves give rise to a mean flow that advects quasi-geostrophic potential vorticity. Second is the definition of a new material invariant: Available Potential Vorticity, or APV. APV isolates the part of Ertel potential vorticity available for balanced-flow evolution in Eulerian frames and proves necessary in the separating waves and quasi-geostrophic flow. The third result, hashed out for near-inertial waves and quasi-geostrophic flow, is that wave-flow interaction leads to energy exchange even under conditions of weak nonlinearity. For storm-forced oceanic near-inertial waves the interaction often energizes waves at the expense of flow. We call this extraction of balanced quasi-geostrophic energy 'stimulated generation' since it requires externally-forced rather than spontaneously-generated waves. The fourth result is that quasi-geostrophic flow can encourage or 'catalyze' a nonlinear interaction between a near-inertial wave field and its second harmonic that transfers energy to the small near-inertial vertical scales of wave breaking and mixing.
|Advisor:||Young, William R.|
|Commitee:||Dubin, Daniel H., Llewellyn Smith, Stefan, Sarkar, Sutanu, Winters, Kraig B.|
|School:||University of California, San Diego|
|Department:||Engineering Sciences (Aerospace Engineering)|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-B 77/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Mechanics, Applied Mathematics, Physical oceanography, Geophysical|
|Keywords:||Geophysical fluid dynamics, Internal waves, Quasi-geostrophic flow|
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