In this paper, numerical simulations are presented of the nonlinear critical-layer evolution of a forced gravity wave packet in a stratified shear flow. The wave packet, localized in the horizontal direction, is forced at the lower boundary of a two-dimensional domain and propagates vertically towards the critical layer. The wave-mean-flow interactions in the critical layer are investigated numerically and contrasted with the results obtained using a spatially periodic monochromatic forcing. With the horizontally localized forcing, the net absorption of the disturbance at the critical layer continues for large time and the onset of the nonlinear breakdown is delayed compared with the case of monochromatic forcing. There is an outward flux of momentum in the horizontal direction so that the horizontal extent of the packet increases with time. The extent to which this happens depends on a number of factors including the amplitude and horizontal length of the forcing. It is also seen that the prolonged absorption of the disturbance stabilizes the solution to the extent that it is always convectively stable; the local Richardson number remains positive well into the nonlinear regime. In this respect, our results for the localized forcing differ from those in the case of monochromatic forcing where significant regions with negative Richardson number appear.

dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0022112003005718
Journal of Fluid Mechanics
School of Mathematics and Statistics

Campbell, L, & Maslowe, S.A. (S. A.). (2003). Nonlinear critical-layer evolution of a forced gravity wave packet. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, (493), 151–179. doi:10.1017/S0022112003005718