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Carnevale, GF, Kloosterziel RC, Orlandi P, van Sommeren D.  2011.  Predicting the aftermath of vortex breakup in rotating flow. Journal of Fluid Mechanics. 669:90-119.   10.1017/s0022112010004945   AbstractWebsite

A method for predicting the outcome of vortex breakup in a rotating flow is introduced. The vortices dealt with here are subject to both centrifugal and barotropic instabilities. The prediction of the aftermath of the breakup relies on knowing how both centrifugal and barotropic instabilities would equilibrate separately. A theoretical model for non-linear equilibration in centrifugal instability is wedded to two-dimensional simulation of barotropic instability to predict the final vortices that emerge from the debris of the original vortex. This prediction method is tested against three-dimensional Navier-Stokes simulations. For vortices in which a rapid centrifugal instability triggers a slower barotropic instability, the method is successful both qualitatively and quantitatively. The skill of the prediction method decreases as the time scales of the two instabilities become comparable.

Kloosterziel, RC, Carnevale GF.  1999.  On the evolution and saturation of instabilities of two-dimensional isolated circular vortices. Journal of Fluid Mechanics. 388:217-257.   10.1017/s0022112099004760   AbstractWebsite

Laboratory observations and numerical experiments have shown that a variety of compound vortices can emerge in two-dimensional flow due to the instability of isolated circular vortices. The simple geometrical features of these compound vortices suggest that their description may take a simple form if an appropriately chosen set of functions is used. We employ a set which is complete on the infinite plane for vorticity distributions with finite total enstrophy. Through projection of the vorticity equation (Galerkin method) and subsequent truncation we derive a dynamical system which is used to model the observed behaviour in as simple as possible a fashion. It is found that at relatively low-order truncations the observed behaviour is qualitatively captured by the dynamical system. We determine what the necessary ingredients are for saturation of instabilities at finite amplitude in terms of wave-wave interactions and feedback between various azimuthal components of the vorticity field.

Orlandi, P, Carnevale GF.  1999.  Evolution of isolated vortices in a rotating fluid of finite depth. Journal of Fluid Mechanics. 381:239-269.   10.1017/s0022112098003693   AbstractWebsite

Laboratory experiments have shown that monopolar isolated vortices in a rotating flow undergo instabilities that result in the formation of multipolar vortex states such as dipoles and tripoles. In some cases the instability is entirely two-dimensional, with the vortices taking the form of vortex columns aligned along the direction of the ambient rotation at all times. In other cases, the vortex first passes through a highly turbulent three-dimensional state before eventually reorganizing into vortex columns. Through a series of three-dimensional numerical simulations, the roles that centrifugal instability, barotropic instability, and the bottom Ekman boundary layer play in these instabilities are investigated. Evidence is presented that the centrifugal instability can trigger the barotropic instabilities by the enhancement of vorticity gradients. It is shown that the bottom Ekman layer is not essential to these instabilities but can strongly modify their evolution.