Quasi-two-dimensional decaying turbulence subject to the effect

Espa, S, Carnevale GF, Cenedese A, Mariani M.  2008.  Quasi-two-dimensional decaying turbulence subject to the effect. Journal of Turbulence. 9:1-18.


-plane turbulence, 2-dimensional turbulence, barriers, beta-plane, cascade, flows, jets, Rhines scale, rotating sphere, spectra, topography, transport, zonal jets


Freely decaying quasi-2D turbulence under the influence of a meridional variation of the Coriolis parameter f ( effect) is experimentally and numerically modelled. The experimental flow is generated in a rotating electromagnetic cell where the variation of f is approximated by a nearly equivalent topographical effect. In the presence of a high effect, the initial disordered vorticity field evolves to form a weak polar anticyclonic circulation surrounded by a cyclonic zonal jet demonstrating the preferential transfer of energy towards zonal motions. In agreement with theoretical predictions, the energy spectrum becomes peaked near the Rhines wave number with a steep fall-off beyond, indicating the presence of a soft barrier to the energy transfer towards larger scales. DNS substantially confirmed the experimental observations.