Applied Mathematics, University of Waterloo
Instabilities of fronts
Fronts, locations of large density gradients, are of major importance in both the atmosphere and the oceans. In particular, oceanic fronts play a major role in the ecosystem of the oceans and atmospheric fronts dramatically affect weather patterns. The study of fronts is naturally split into two sections, the development of a front, known as frontogenesis, and the subsequent collapse. The focus of this talk is on the collapse of a front. In particular, we work within the 2 layer shallow water framework and apply linear stability theory to a geostrophically balanced background state in order to find the most unstable modes for a range of Rossby and Richardson numbers. The spatial structure of these modes is then examined.