On the mechanism of self gravitating Rossby interfacial waves in proto-stellar accretion discs

Ron Yellin-Bergovoy*, Eyal Heifetz, Orkan M. Umurhan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The dynamical response of edge waves under the influence of self-gravity is examined in an idealised two-dimensional model of a proto-stellar disc, characterised in steady state as a rotating vertically infinite cylinder of fluid with constant density except for a single density interface at some radius (Formula presented.). The fluid in basic state is prescribed to rotate with a Keplerian profile (Formula presented.) modified by some additional azimuthal sheared flow. A linear analysis shows that there are two azimuthally propagating edge waves, kin to the familiar Rossby waves and surface gravity waves in terrestrial studies, which move opposite to one another with respect to the local basic state rotation rate at the interface. Instability only occurs if the radial pressure gradient is opposite to that of the density jump (unstably stratified) where self-gravity acts as a wave stabiliser irrespective of the stratification of the system. The propagation properties of the waves are discussed in detail in the language of vorticity edge waves. The roles of both Boussinesq and non-Boussinesq effects upon the stability and propagation of these waves with and without the inclusion of self-gravity are then quantified. The dynamics involved with self-gravity non-Boussinesq effect is shown to be a source of vorticity production where there is a jump in the basic state density In addition, self-gravity also alters the dynamics via the radial main pressure gradient, which is a Boussinesq effect. Further applications of these mechanical insights are presented in the conclusion including the ways in which multiple density jumps or gaps may or may not be stable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)274-294
Number of pages21
JournalGeophysical and Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 3 May 2016


  • Protoplanetary accretion disc
  • Rossby wave instability
  • self gravity
  • vorticity waves


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