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Instability in Geophysical Flows


  • Date Published: April 2019
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108703017

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About the Authors
  • Instabilities are present in all natural fluids from rivers to atmospheres. This book considers the physical processes that generate instability. Part I describes the normal mode instabilities most important in geophysical applications, including convection, shear instability and baroclinic instability. Classical analytical approaches are covered, while also emphasising numerical methods, mechanisms such as internal wave resonance, and simple `rules of thumb' that permit assessment of instability quickly and intuitively. Part II introduces the cutting edge: nonmodal instabilities, the relationship between instability and turbulence, self-organised criticality, and advanced numerical techniques. Featuring numerous exercises and projects, the book is ideal for advanced students and researchers wishing to understand flow instability and apply it to their own research. It can be used to teach courses in oceanography, atmospheric science, coastal engineering, applied mathematics and environmental science. Exercise solutions and MATLAB® examples are provided online. Also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.

    • Develops simple 'rules of thumb' for all classes of instabilities so that researchers can quickly estimate the potential for instability in any observation or measurement
    • Teaches numerical methods for two-point boundary value problems, enabling the reader to develop a toolkit of codes for use in their research on instabilities and internal waves
    • Focuses on mechanistic explanations for instabilities, enabling students to gain physical insight and make connections to their own experience of fluid phenomena
    • This title is also available under Gold Open Access on Cambridge Core
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Written with impressive clarity, this new textbook covers all the key types of geophysical instability and provides a window to more advanced topics such as transient optimal growth and transition to turbulence. In addition to presenting the mathematical fundamentals the authors present satisfying physical explanations for the complex mechanisms, while throughout the text (and homework exercises) numerical methods and simple codes are used to familiarise students with this important tool for simulating instability mechanisms numerically. For all these reasons it is truly an outstanding textbook - for class teaching or self-study. I will use it myself to create a new graduate course!' Eyal Heifetz, Tel Aviv University

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2019
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108703017
    • dimensions: 245 x 170 x 24 mm
    • weight: 0.86kg
    • contains: 144 b/w illus. 115 colour illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Normal Mode Instabilities:
    1. Preliminaries
    2. Convective instability
    3. Instabilities of a parallel shear flow
    4. Parallel shear flow: the effects of stratification
    5. Parallel shear flow: the effects of viscosity
    6. Synthesis: viscous, diffusive, inhomogeneous, parallel shear flow
    7. Nonparallel flow: instabilities of a cylindrical vortex
    8. Instability in a rotating environment
    9. Convective instability in complex fluids
    10. Summary
    Part II. The View Ahead:
    11. Beyond normal modes
    12. Instability and turbulence
    13. Refining the numerical methods
    Appendix A. Homework exercises
    Appendix B. Projects
    List of illustrations
    List of tables

  • Resources for

    Instability in Geophysical Flows

    William D. Smyth, Jeffrey R. Carpenter

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  • Authors

    William D. Smyth, Oregon State University
    William D. Smyth was trained in theoretical physics and is now a professor of oceanography at Oregon State University. He has taught graduate-level courses in fluid mechanics, geophysical waves and instabilities, descriptive oceanography, dynamic meteorology and climate. His research interests focus on instability and turbulence in geophysical flows and on the broader study of complex phenomena. He has been a visiting scientist at the Liebnitz Institute for Baltic Sea Research in Germany. He has twice received the Pattulo Award for Excellence in Teaching, and has been honoured with the Kirby Liang Fellowship from Bangor University in Wales and a Distinguished Visitor Fellowship from Xiamen University in China.

    Jeffrey R. Carpenter, Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht
    Jeffrey R. Carpenter is a physical oceanographer at the Institute of Coastal Research, Helmholtz-Zentrum Geeshacht, Germany, where he is the leader of the Small Scale Physics and Turbulence Group. His work focuses on the fluid mechanics of physical process in natural water bodies, and his research interests include turbulent mixing in stable density stratification, shear flows, instability and wave interactions, double-diffusive convection, heat fluxes and eddy formation in the Arctic Ocean, turbulence measurements using ocean gliders, and the impacts of offshore wind farms on the coastal ocean.

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