A variational formulation for barotropic quasi-geostrophic flows

O Bokhove, J Vanneste, T Warn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We derive simplified balanced equations by introducing perturbation expansions in the variational principle of a low-order fluid model and in that of the rapidly rotating shallow-water equations. In the case of the shallow-water equations, this provides a constrained variational principle for the barotropic quasi-geostrophic equations which is based on the Lagrangian description of the fluid. Our results thus show that the quasigeostrophic equations can be derived systematically in the context of Lagrangian variational principles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-79
Number of pages13
JournalGeophysical and astrophysical fluid dynamics
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1998


  • Lagrangian variational principle
  • Rossby-number expansion
  • quasi-geostrophic equations


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