Barotropic and Baroclinic Instabilities

  • P. F. Linden
Part of the International Centre for Mechanical Sciences book series (CISM, volume 329)


The stability of a given flow field is a central question in the consideration of the realisability and persistence of a flow. This question is most simply addressed by considering the linear stability of the flow. A small perturbation is made to the given flow field and the tendency for this perturbation to grow, or decay is determined. Since the perturbation is small the equations of motion are linearised about this basic state, and these linearised equations often yield mode-like solutions with time-dependence of the form e t, where t is time and σ the frequency of the mode. If Im) < 0, the mode grows exponentially and the flow is said to be linearly unstable.


Rossby Wave Froude Number Potential Vorticity Baroclinic Instability Isopycnal Surface 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. F. Linden
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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