**Author**: Yue-Kin Tsang, Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

**Names and affiliation of other authors**:

William R. Young

Scripps Institution of Oceanography

**Oral or poster**: Oral presentation

**Abstract**:

We develop a new nonlinear stability method, the Energy-Enstrophy (EZ) method, that is specialized to two-dimensional hydrodynamics; the method is applied to a beta-plane flow driven by a sinusoidal body force, and retarded by drag with damping time-scale mu^{-1}. The standard energy method (Fukuta and Murakami, J. Phys. Soc. Japan, 64, 1995, pp 3725) shows that the laminar solution is monotonically and globally stable in a certain portion of the (mu,beta)-parameter space. The EZ method proves nonlinear stability in a larger portion of the (mu,beta)-parameter space. And by penalizing high wavenumbers, the EZ method identifies a most strongly amplifying disturbance that is more physically realistic than that delivered by the energy method. Linear instability calculations are used to determine the region of the (mu,beta)-parameter space where the flow is unstable to infinitesimal perturbations. There is only a small gap between the linearly unstable region and the nonlinearly stable region, and full numerical solutions show only small transient amplification in that gap.

Nonlinear Processes in Oceanic and Atmospheric Flows. July 2-4, 2008. Castro Urdiales, Cantabria, Spain.