Processes Leading to Filamentation of a Potential Vorticity Interface over a Topographic Slope
Using the barotropic, nondivergent model for flow over a topographic slope adjoined by a coastal barrier, a contour dynamics algorithm is developed to describe wave evolution on an interface separating two regions of uniform potential vorticity. We find that wave steepening due to advective nonlinearity is partially controlled by wave dispersion; the usual outcome for even small-amplitude waves is filamentation. A kinematic mechanism proposed by Pullin et al.  is used to identify criteria for when filamentation will occur. Of the various parameters in this system, the most important is found to be the ratio of the potential vorticity jump across the interface to the background potential vorticity.
KeywordsPotential Vorticity Wave Crest Critical Layer Wave Steepen Topographic Slope
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