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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 30, issue 2
Ann. Geophys., 30, 303–315, 2012
© Author(s) 2012. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Ann. Geophys., 30, 303–315, 2012
© Author(s) 2012. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Regular paper 03 Feb 2012

Regular paper | 03 Feb 2012

Spectral energy transfer of atmospheric gravity waves through sum and difference nonlinear interactions

K. M. Huang1,2,3,4,5, A. Z. Liu3, S. D. Zhang1,4,5, F. Yi1,4,5, and Z. Li3 K. M. Huang et al.
  • 1School of Electronic Information, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China
  • 2Key Laboratory of Geospace Environment, University of Science & Technology of China, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Hefei, China
  • 3Department of Physical Science, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Florida, USA
  • 4Key Laboratory of Geospace Environment and Geodesy, Ministry of Education, Wuhan, China
  • 5State Observatory for Atmospheric Remote Sensing, Wuhan, China

Abstract. Nonlinear interactions of gravity waves are studied with a two-dimensional, fully nonlinear model. The energy exchanges among resonant and near-resonant triads are examined in order to understand the spectral energy transfer through interactions. The results show that in both resonant and near-resonant interactions, the energy exchange between two high frequency waves is strong, but the energy transfer from large to small vertical scale waves is rather weak. This suggests that the energy cascade toward large vertical wavenumbers through nonlinear interaction is inefficient, which is different from the rapid turbulence cascade. Because of considerable energy exchange, nonlinear interactions can effectively spread high frequency spectrum, and play a significant role in limiting wave amplitude growth and transferring energy into higher altitudes. In resonant interaction, the interacting waves obey the resonant matching conditions, and resonant excitation is reversible, while near-resonant excitation is not so. Although near-resonant interaction shows the complexity of match relation, numerical experiments show an interesting result that when sum and difference near-resonant interactions occur between high and low frequency waves, the wave vectors tend to approximately match in horizontal direction, and the frequency of the excited waves is also close to the matching value.

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