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