Strato-hyperbolic instability: A new mechanism of instability in stably stratified vortices

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Abstract

The stability of stably stratified vortices is studied by local stability analysis. Three base flows that possess hyperbolic stagnation points are considered: the two-dimensional (2-D) Taylor-Green vortices, the Stuart vortices and the Lamb-Chaplygin dipole. It is shown that the elliptic instability is stabilized by stratification; it is completely stabilized for the 2-D Taylor-Green vortices, while it remains and merges into hyperbolic instability near the boundary or the heteroclinic streamlines connecting the hyperbolic stagnation points for the Stuart vortices and the Lamb-Chaplygin dipole. More importantly, a new instability caused by hyperbolic instability near the hyperbolic stagnation points and phase shift by the internal gravity waves is found; it is named the strato-hyperbolic instability; the underlying mechanism is parametric resonance as unstable band structures appear in contours of the growth rate. A simplified model explains the mechanism and the resonance curves. The growth rate of the strato-hyperbolic instability is comparable to that of the elliptic instability for the 2-D Taylor-Green vortices, while it is smaller for the Stuart vortices and the Lamb-Chaplygin dipole. For the Lamb-Chaplygin dipole, the tripolar instability is found to merge with the strato-hyperbolic instability as stratification becomes strong. The modal stability analysis is also performed for the 2-D Taylor-Green vortices. It is shown that global modes of the strato-hyperbolic instability exist; the structure of an unstable eigenmode is in good agreement with the results obtained by local stability analysis. The strato-hyperbolic mode becomes dominant depending on the parameter values.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-323
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Volume854
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Nov 10

Keywords

  • Key wordsparametric instability
  • stratified flows
  • vortex instability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering

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