Internal wave pressure, velocity, and energy flux from density perturbations

Author :Michael R. Allshouse, Frank M. Lee, P. J. Morrison, Harry L. Swinney
Publication :Physical Review Fluids
Publisher :American Physical Society
Volume :1
Number :014301
Year :2016
Supplement :(zip)
DOI: : 10.1103/PhysRevFluids.1.014301
Matlab File Exchange code : Matlab File ID: #55514
Downloadable Matlab File Exchange program (Matlab File ID: #55514) by M.R. Allshouse, EnergyFlux, with GUI interface: “Calculation of the energy flux for an internal wave from density perturbation”


Determination of energy transport is crucial for understanding the energy budget and fluid circulation in density varying fluids such as the ocean and the atmosphere. However, it is rarely possible to determine the energy flux field J=pu, which requires simultaneous measurements of the pressure and velocity perturbation fields p and u, respectively. We present a method for obtaining the instantaneous J(x,z,t) from density perturbations alone: A Green’s function-based calculation yields p; u is obtained by integrating the continuity equation and the incompressibility condition. We validate our method with results from Navier-Stokes simulations: The Green’s function method is applied to the density perturbation field from the simulations and the result for J is found to agree typically to within 1% with J computed directly using p and u from the Navier-Stokes simulation. We also apply the Green’s function method to density perturbation data from laboratory schlieren measurements of internal waves in a stratified fluid and the result for J agrees to within 6% with results from Navier-Stokes simulations. Our method for determining the instantaneous velocity, pressure, and energy flux fields applies to any system described by a linear approximation of the density perturbation field, e.g., to small-amplitude lee waves and propagating vertical modes. The method can be applied using our matlab graphical user interface EnergyFlux.