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Double Hopf bifurcations in two geophysical fluid dynamics models Lewis, Gregory M.


We analyze the double Hopf bifurcations which occur in two geophysical fluid dynamics models: (1) a two-layer quasigeostrophic potential vorticity model with forcing and (2) a mathematical model of the differentially heated rotating annulus experiment. The bifurcations occur at the transition between axisymmetric steady solutions and non-axisymmetric travelling waves. For both models, the results indicate that, close to the transition, there are regions in parameter space where there are multiple stable waves. Hysteresis of these waves is predicted. For each model, center manifold reduction and normal form theory are used to deduce the local behaviour of the full system of partial differential equations from a low-dimensional system of ordinary differential equations. In each case, it is not possible to compute the relevant eigenvalues and eigenfunctions analytically. Therefore, the linear part of the equations is discretized and the eigenvalues and eigenfunctions are approximated from the resulting matrix eigenvalue problem. However, the projection onto the center manifold and reduction to normal form can be done analytically. Thus, a combination of analytical and numerical methods are used to obtain numerical approximations of the normal form coefficients, from which the dynamics are deduced. The first model differs from those previously studied with bifurcation analysis since it supports a steady solution which varies nonlinearly with latitude. The results indicate that the forcing does not qualitatively change the behaviour. However, the form of the bifurcating solution is affected. The second model uses the Navier-Stokes equations in the Boussinesq approximation, in cylindrical geometry. In addition to the double Hopf bifurcation analysis, a detailed axisymmetric to non-axisymmetric transition curve is produced from the computed eigenvalues. A quantitative comparison with experimental data finds that the computed transition curve, critical wave numbers and drift rates of the bifurcating waves are reasonably accurate. This indicates that the analysis, as well as the approximations which are made, are valid.

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