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On wave-mean flow interactions in stratified fluid

Abstract : The dynamics of planetary-scale geophysical flows is strongly influenced by physicalprocesses, mostly unresolved by general circulation numerical models. To parametrisethe coupling between small and large scales, it is essential to understand the underlying physical mechanisms. In this thesis, we study an emblematic problem of interactions between waves and mean flows: the dynamics of zonal flows forced by internal gravity waves. A striking manifestation of these interactions is the quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) of equatorial winds in the Earth’s atmosphere. First, we describe a transition to chaos in a classical quasilinear model of the QBO and show that these bifurcations persist in direct numerical simulations. Based on these results, we suggest an interpretation for the observation of the unexpected periodicity disruption of the QBO in 2016. The mechanism by which mean flows are generated by waves in stratified fluids requires the consideration of dissipative effects. This phenomenon is analogous to acoustic "streaming". In a second time, we exploit this analogy to study the generation of mean flows by internal gravity waves close to a wall, using multi-scale asymptotic approaches. Finally, we propose an inertial approach to describe the spontaneous emergence of vortical flows in the presence of waves: we apply the tools of statistical mechanics to calculate the partition of energy between small and large scales in the shallow-water model.
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Antoine Renaud. On wave-mean flow interactions in stratified fluid. Fluid Dynamics [physics.flu-dyn]. Université de Lyon, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018LYSEN059⟩. ⟨tel-02004686v2⟩

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