## Coupling of damped and growing modes in unstable shear flow

Analysis of the saturation of the Kelvin-Helmholtz instability is undertaken to determine the extent to which the conjugate linearly stable mode plays a role. For a piecewise-continuous mean flow profile with constant shear in a fixed layer, it is shown that the stable mode is nonlinearly excited, providing an injection-scale sink of the fluctuation energy similar to what has been found for gyroradius-scale drift-wave turbulence. Quantitative evaluation of the contribution of the stable mode to the energy balance at the onset of saturation shows that nonlinear energy transfer to the stable mode is as significant as energy transfer to smallmore »