Three-dimensional quasi-geostrophic vortex equilibria with m−fold symmetry
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We investigate arrays of m three-dimensional, unit Burger number, quasi-geostrophic vortices in mutual equilibrium whose centroids lie on a horizontal circular ring; or m + 1 vortices where the additional vortex lies on the vertical ‘central’ axis passing through the centre of the array. We first analyse the linear stability of circular point vortex arrays. Three distinct categories of vortex arrays are considered. In the first category, the m identical point vortices are equally spaced on a circular ring and no vortex is located on the vertical central axis. In the other two categories, a ‘central’ vortex is added. The latter two categories differ by the sign of the central vortex. We next turn our attention to finite volume vortices for the same three categories. The vortices consist in finite volumes of uniform potential vorticity and the equilibrium vortex arrays have an (imposed) m−fold symmetry. For simplicity all vortices have the same volume and the same potential vorticity, in absolute value. For such finite volume vortex arrays, we determine families of equilibria which are spanned by the ratio of a distance separating the vortices and the array centre to the vortices mean radius. We determine numerically the shape of the equilibria for m = 2 up to m = 7, for each three categories, and we address their linear stability. For the m−vortex circular arrays, all configurations with m ≥ 6 are unstable. Point vortex arrays are linearly stable for m < 6. Finite volume vortices may however be sensitive to instabilities deforming the vortices for m < 6 if the ratio of the distance separating the vortices to their mean radius is smaller than a threshold depending on m. Adding a vortex on the central axis modifies the overall stability properties of the vortex arrays. For m = 2, a central vortex tends to destabilise the vortex array unless the central vortex has opposite sign and is intense. For m > 2, the unstable regime can be obtained if the strength of the central vortex is larger in magnitude than a threshold depending on the number of vortices. This is true whether the central vortex has the same sign as or the opposite sign to the peripheral vortices. A moderate strength like-signed central vortex tends however to stabilise the vortex array when located near the plane containing the array. On the contrary, most of the vortex arrays with an opposite-signed central vortex are unstable.
Reinaud , J N 2019 , ' Three-dimensional quasi-geostrophic vortex equilibria with m −fold symmetry ' Journal of Fluid Mechanics , vol. 863 , pp. 32-59 . https://doi.org/10.1017/jfm.2018.989
Journal of Fluid Mechanics
© 2019, Cambridge University Press. This work has been made available online in accordance with the publisher's policies. This is the author created accepted version manuscript following peer review and as such may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at https://doi.org/10.1017/jfm.2018.989
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