Waves and wave drag in stratified flows

  • J. W. Miles
Part of the International Union of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics book series (IUTAM)


Waves in a stratified flow are a prominent and dramatic feature in the lee of a mountain range that stands athwart the prevailing winds, such as the Sierra Nevada in California or the Southern Alps in New Zealand. These waves produce striking cloud patterns, have been responsible for world records and fatal crashes in sailplanes, and may be responsible for a significant fraction of the momentum exchange between the Earth and its atmosphere. They are basically gravity waves, in the sense that they owe their existence to the buoyant force of gravity in a stably stratified fluid, and are excited by flow over an obstacle in such a fluid. Examples of wave-induced clouds on the lee sides of the southern Andes, the Sierra Nevada, and Mount Fujiyama are shown in Figs. 1–3, in inverse order of scaleThe first two patterns are quasi-two-dimensional, whereas the third (Fujiyama) is essentially three-dimensional. The first is of continental scale, in consequence of which the Coriolis force associated with rotation of the Earth might be a significant factor.


Gravity Wave Steady Flow Basic Flow Oceanic Physic Stratify Flow 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1969

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. W. Miles
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CaliforniaLa JollaUSA

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