Barotropic instability of shear flows. (English) Zbl 1445.76044

Summary: We consider barotropic instability of shear flows for incompressible fluids with Coriolis effects. For a class of shear flows, we develop a new method to find the sharp stability conditions. We study the flow with sinus profile in details and obtain the sharp stability boundary in the whole parameter space, which corrects previous results in the fluid literature. Our new results are confirmed by more accurate numerical computation. The addition of the Coriolis force is found to bring fundamental changes to the stability of shear flows. Moreover, we study dynamical behaviors near the shear flows, including the bifurcation of nontrivial traveling wave solutions and the linear inviscid damping. The first ingredient of our proof is a careful classification of the neutral modes. The second one is to write the linearized fluid equation in a Hamiltonian form and then use an instability index theory for general Hamiltonian partial differential equations. The last one is to study the singular and nonresonant neutral modes using Sturm-Liouville theory and hypergeometric functions.


76E20 Stability and instability of geophysical and astrophysical flows
76E07 Rotation in hydrodynamic stability
76U60 Geophysical flows
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