Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed


Version 1 : Received: 22 July 2016 / Approved: 22 July 2016 / Online: 22 July 2016 (05:17:29 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Balasuriya, S. Meridional and Zonal Wavenumber Dependence in Tracer Flux in Rossby Waves. Fluids 2016, 1, 30. Balasuriya, S. Meridional and Zonal Wavenumber Dependence in Tracer Flux in Rossby Waves. Fluids 2016, 1, 30.


Eddy-driven jets are of importance in the ocean and atmosphere, and to a first approximation are governed by Rossby wave dynamics. This study addresses the time-dependent flux of fluid and potential vorticity between such a jet and an adjacent eddy, with specific regard to determining zonal and meridional wavenumber dependence. The flux amplitude in wavenumber space is obtained, which is easily computable for a given jet geometry, speed and latitude, and which provides instant information on the wavenumbers of the Rossby waves which maximize the flux. This new tool enables the quick determination of which modes are most influential in imparting fluid exchange, which in the long term will homogenize the potential vorticity between the eddy and the jet. The results are validated by computing backward- and forward-time finite-time Lyapunov exponent fields, and also stable and unstable manifolds; the intermingling of these entities defines the region of chaotic transport between the eddy and the jet. The relationship of all of these to the time-varying transport flux between the eddy and the jet is carefully elucidated. The flux quantification presented here works for general time-dependence, whether or not lobes (intersection regions between stable and unstable manifolds) are present in the mixing region, and is therefore also easily computable for wave packets consisting of infinitely many wavenumbers.


maximum flux; midlatitude cyclones; oceanic jets; chaotic transport


Environmental and Earth Sciences, Geophysics and Geology

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