Measurements in a turbulent patch in a rotating, linearly-stratified fluid

Folkard, Andrew M. and Davies, Peter A. and Fernando, Harindra J.S. (1997) Measurements in a turbulent patch in a rotating, linearly-stratified fluid. Dynamics of Atmospheres and Oceans, 26 (1). pp. 27-51. ISSN 0377-0265

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A series of experiments is described in which a turbulent patch is generated locally by an oscillating grid positioned at one end and mid-depth of a rotating channel filled initially with a linearly-stratified fluid. Measurements have been made of vertical density profiles through the patch both during sustained oscillations and following cessation of grid forcing. Temporal variations in patch size and structure, Thorpe scales, mixedness parameter and available potential energy are deduced from these measurements, and the effects thereon of varying the background rotation rate, initial buoyancy frequency and grid action are investigated. For the growth phase of the patch, previous results obtained by other workers are confirmed and extended. Because the rapid turbulent motions implied a large Rossby number, rotation was not important during this phase. During the decay phase, rotational effects are shown to become important, and the presence of rotation is found to retard the decay of both the mixedness and the Thorpe scales of the density overturns within the patch. The work is novel in that measurements of the patch parameters listed above have not previously been carried out in the presence of rotation. The results are relevant to studies of such patches that have been observed in the ocean and atmosphere.

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Journal Article
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Dynamics of Atmospheres and Oceans
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19 Nov 2018 10:06
Last Modified:
18 Sep 2023 01:28