Reflection of Hydrostatic Gravity Waves in a Stratified Shear Flow. Part I: Theory

William Blumen Astrophysical, Planetary and Atmospheric Sciences Department, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309

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Abstract

Continuous partial reflection of linear hydrostatic gravity waves that propagate through a stratified shear flow is examined. The complex reflection coefficient R satisfies a Riccati equation, which is a first-order nonlinear differential equation. It is shown that |R|<1 since critical levels and overreflection are not considered. In this case the conservation of wave action flux may be expressed as a relationship between |R| and El−1, where E is the wave energy and l a characteristic inverse vertical length scale of the background state.

It is demonstrated that R for a layered model represents a limiting solution of the Riccati equation. A general solution is also derived, under the assumption that the characteristic woe l is directly proportional to the inverse scale height of the characteristic impedance associated with a stratified shear flow. It is shown that the vanishing of |R| at a specific level is analogous to the vanishing of |R| in a three layer model, when the characteristic impedances in the top and the bottom layers satisfy a matching condition. Finally, various properties of the reflection coefficient are displayed for a particular background state. The extension of the theory to encompass other types of wave motion is indicated.

Abstract

Continuous partial reflection of linear hydrostatic gravity waves that propagate through a stratified shear flow is examined. The complex reflection coefficient R satisfies a Riccati equation, which is a first-order nonlinear differential equation. It is shown that |R|<1 since critical levels and overreflection are not considered. In this case the conservation of wave action flux may be expressed as a relationship between |R| and El−1, where E is the wave energy and l a characteristic inverse vertical length scale of the background state.

It is demonstrated that R for a layered model represents a limiting solution of the Riccati equation. A general solution is also derived, under the assumption that the characteristic woe l is directly proportional to the inverse scale height of the characteristic impedance associated with a stratified shear flow. It is shown that the vanishing of |R| at a specific level is analogous to the vanishing of |R| in a three layer model, when the characteristic impedances in the top and the bottom layers satisfy a matching condition. Finally, various properties of the reflection coefficient are displayed for a particular background state. The extension of the theory to encompass other types of wave motion is indicated.

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