Gravity Wave 1-leat Fluxes: A Lagrangian Approach

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  • 1 Geophysical Institute and Department of Physics. University of Alaska, Fairbanks
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Abstract

The effect of a vertically propagating, internal gravity wave on the vertical flux of potential temperature (heat) is considered by averaging the local heat flux vector over a potential temperature surface. This approach gives the wave heat flux a simple physical picture which is not readily apparent from the more common Eulerian formulation. This method also allows the eddy diffusion coefficient to be a function of the phase of the wave. Such a phase dependent eddy diffusion has been previously considered from an Eulerian viewpoint as a model of a convectively unstable gravity wave. Here, the Lagrangian method confirms and corrects the Eulerian results. Earlier work is extended by modeling a constant amplitude “breaking” wave, as well as by considering eddy diffusion coefficients that are asymmetric with respect to the wave breaking region. In all cases studied, 1ocalizing the eddy diffusion to the region of wayebreaking decreases the average heat flux.

Abstract

The effect of a vertically propagating, internal gravity wave on the vertical flux of potential temperature (heat) is considered by averaging the local heat flux vector over a potential temperature surface. This approach gives the wave heat flux a simple physical picture which is not readily apparent from the more common Eulerian formulation. This method also allows the eddy diffusion coefficient to be a function of the phase of the wave. Such a phase dependent eddy diffusion has been previously considered from an Eulerian viewpoint as a model of a convectively unstable gravity wave. Here, the Lagrangian method confirms and corrects the Eulerian results. Earlier work is extended by modeling a constant amplitude “breaking” wave, as well as by considering eddy diffusion coefficients that are asymmetric with respect to the wave breaking region. In all cases studied, 1ocalizing the eddy diffusion to the region of wayebreaking decreases the average heat flux.

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