Instabilities and waves on a columnar vortex in a strongly stratified and rotating fluid

Junho Park, Paul Billant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


This paper investigates the effect of the background rotation on the radiative instability of a columnar Rankine vortex in a strongly stratified fluid. We show that a cyclonic background rotation strongly stabilizes the radiative instability. The modes become neutral when the Rossby number Ro is below a critical value which depends on the azimuthal wavenumber of the wave. In the limit of small Rossby number, there exist fast neutral waves that are not captured by the quasi-geostrophic theory. In the presence of anticyclonic background rotation, the centrifugal instability dominates the radiative instability only when -400 ≲ Ro < -1. The numerical stability analysis is completed by asymptotic analyses for large wavenumbers which explain the properties and mechanisms of the waves and the instabilities. The stability of a continuous smoothed Rankine vortex is also investigated. The most amplified azimuthal wavenumber is then finite instead of infinite for the Rankine vortex.

Original languageEnglish
Article number086601
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 26 Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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