Three-dimensional instability of elliptical flow

B. J. Bayly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

333 Scopus citations


A theory is presented for Pierrehumbert's three-dimensional short-wave inviscid instability of the simple two-dimensional elliptical flow with velocity field u(x,y,z)=(-Ey,E-1x,0). The fundamental modes, which are also exact solutions of the nonlinear equations, are plane waves whose wave vector rotates elliptically around the z axis with period 2. The growth rates are the exponents of a matrix Floquet problem, and agree with those calculated by Pierrehumbert.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2160-2163
Number of pages4
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number17
StatePublished - 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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