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Orlandi, P, Pirozzoli S, Bernardini M, Carnevale GF.  2014.  A minimal flow unit for the study of turbulence with passive scalars. Journal of Turbulence. 15:731-751.   10.1080/14685248.2014.927066   AbstractWebsite

The concept of a minimal flow unit (MFU) for the study of the basic physics of turbulent flows is introduced. The MFU is an initial vorticity configuration that consists of a few simple well-defined large-scale vortex structures. The form and position of these structures are chosen so that their interaction produces turbulence capturing many of the essential characteristics of isotropic homogeneous turbulence produced from random-phase initial conditions or that produced by continual random-phase forcing. The advantage of using the MFU is that the evolution of the vortex structures can be followed more clearly and the relationship between the evolving vortex structures and the various ranges in the energy spectrum can be more clearly defined. The addition of passive scalar fields to the MFU permits an investigation of passive scalar mixing that is relevant to the study of combustion. With a particular choice of the MFU, one that produces a trend to a finite-time singularity in the vorticity field, it is demonstrated that passive scalar distributed in the original large-scale vortices will develop intense gradients in the region where the vorticity is tending toward a singularity. In viscous flow, the evolution of the MFU clearly shows how the volume of the regions where originally well-separated passive scalars come into contact increases with increasing Reynolds number.

Carnevale, GF, Kloosterziel RC, Orlandi P.  2013.  Inertial and barotropic instabilities of a free current in three-dimensional rotating flow. Journal of Fluid Mechanics. 725:117-151.   10.1017/jfm.2013.191   AbstractWebsite

A current in a homogeneous rotating fluid is subject to simultaneous inertial and barotropic instabilities. Inertial instability causes rapid mixing of streamwise absolute linear momentum and alters the vertically averaged velocity profile of the current. The resulting profile can be predicted by a construction based on absolute-momentum conservation. The alteration of the mean velocity profile strongly affects how barotropic instability will subsequently change the flow. If a current with a symmetric distribution of cyclonic and anticyclonic vorticity undergoes only barotropic instability, the result will be cyclones and anticyclones of the same shape and amplitude. Inertial instability breaks this symmetry. The combined effect of inertial and barotropic instability produces anticyclones that are broader and weaker than the cyclones. A two-step scheme for predicting the result of the combined inertial and barotropic instabilities is proposed and tested. This scheme uses the construction for the redistribution of streamwise absolute linear momentum to predict the mean current that results from inertial instability and then uses this equilibrated current as the initial condition for a two- dimensional simulation that predicts the result of the subsequent barotropic instability. Predictions are made for the evolution of a Gaussian jet and are compared with three-dimensional simulations for a range of Rossby numbers. It is demonstrated that the actual redistribution of absolute momentum in the three-dimensional simulations is well predicted by the construction used here. Predictions are also made for the final number and size of vortices that result from the combined inertial and barotropic instabilities.

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.

Orlandi, P, Carnevale GF, Lele SK, Shariff K.  2001.  Thermal perturbation of trailing vortices. European Journal of Mechanics B-Fluids. 20:511-524.   10.1016/s0997-7546(01)01131-1   AbstractWebsite

The possibility of diminishing the danger of trailing vortices through thermal forcing is investigated. It is shown that heating the vortices would have two beneficial effects. First, it would cause the vortices to descend more rapidly thus clearing the flight path more quickly. Second, it would cause the vortices to draw closer together, thus greatly increasing the growth rate of the short-wave instabilities that can ultimately destroy the vortices through cross-diffusion. (C) 2001 Editions scientifiques et medicales Elsevier SAS.

Carnevale, GE, Smith SGL, Crisciani F, Purini R, Serravall R.  1999.  Bifurcation of a coastal current at an escarpment. Journal of Physical Oceanography. 29:969-985.   10.1175/1520-0485(1999)029<0969:boacca>;2   AbstractWebsite

The evolution of a coastal current as it encounters an escarpment depends strongly on whether the geometry of the coast and escarpment is right or left "handed," independent of the direction of the coastal current. Handedness is defined such that right-handed means that when looking across the escarpment from the deep to the shallow side, the coast is found on the right. The essential aspects of the difference in behavior of the current in the two geometries are captured by a simple quasigeostrophic model of coastal flow over a step. An exact analytic solution to the nonlinear stationary problem is obtained. This solution shows that, when a coastal current crosses an escarpment in the left-handed geometry, the speed of the current will increase independent of whether the flow is from shallow to deep or from deep to shallow. For the right-handed geometry, the speed of the current decreases, also independent of the direction of the coastal flow. In the left (right)-handed geometry, there is associated to the coastal flow an inshore (offshore) current along the escarpment. These results are explained in terms of linear wave theory and vortex dynamics. Numerical simulations are used to examine the evolution of the flow from the initial encounter to the establishment of a stationary flow. The relevance of this research is discussed in light of recent results from laboratory experiments and oceanic observations.

Carnevale, GF, Fuentes OUV, Orlandi P.  1997.  Inviscid dipole-vortex rebound from a wall or coast. Journal of Fluid Mechanics. 351:75-103.   10.1017/s0022112097007155   AbstractWebsite

A vortex approaching a no-slip wall 'rebounds' due to the creation of vorticity at the wall in a viscous boundary layer. Here it is demonstrated that a purely inviscid mechanism can also produce vortex rebound from a slip wall. In inviscid vortex rebound, vortex tube stretching generates the necessary vorticity to allow rebound, eliminating the need for viscous vorticity generation. This vortex stretching mechanism is demonstrated through numerical simulations and laboratory experiments on dipole-vortex rebound from a boundary. In an application to oceanography, numerical simulations of both quasi-geostrophic and shallow water dynamics are used to show that the beta-effect at an eastern boundary can produce this inviscid rebound. Through a series of numerical experiments in which the strength of the beta-effect is varied, a formula for predicting the point of separation of the vortices from the boundary in a dipole-coast collision is deduced. Through simulations, the flux of vorticity and fluid away from the boundary is measured as a function of beta and initial angle of incidence. It is found that, in contrast to viscous vortex rebound, which typically does not produce a flux of material away from the boundary farther than a distance comparable to the initial vortex radius, the beta-induced rebound does carry fluid far from the coast. Laboratory experiments in a rotating tank are used to show that a sloping bottom can also provide an inviscid mechanism for dipole-vortex rebound from the wall of the tank under certain conditions. A relation determining the conditions under which inviscid or viscous processes will dominate in the rebound of the dipole from a boundary is obtained.

Carnevale, GF, Briscolini M, Kloosterziel RC, Vallis GK.  1997.  Three-dimensionally perturbed vortex tubes in a rotating flow. Journal of Fluid Mechanics. 341:127-163.   10.1017/s0022112097005430   AbstractWebsite

Numerical experiments are used to study the evolution of perturbed vortex tubes in a rotating environment in order to better understand the process of two-dimensionalization of unsteady rotating flows. We specifically consider non-axisymmetric perturbations to columnar vortices aligned along the axis of rotation. The basic unperturbed vortex is chosen to have a Gaussian cross-sectional vorticity distribution. The experiments cover a parameter space in which both the strength of the initial perturbation and the Rossby number are varied. The Rossby number is defined here as the ratio of the maximum amplitude of vorticity in the Gaussian vorticity profile to twice the ambient rotation rate. For small perturbations and small Rossby numbers, both cyclones and anticyclones behave similarly, relaxing rapidly back toward two-dimensional columnar vortices. For large perturbations and small Rossby numbers, a rapid instability occurs for both cyclones and anticyclones in which antiparallel vorticity is created. The tubes break up and then re-form again into columnar vortices parallel to the rotation axis (i.e. into a quasi-two-dimensional flow) through nonlinear processes. For Rossby numbers greater than 1, even small perturbations result in the complete breakdown of the anticyclonic vortex through centrifugal instability, while cyclones remain stable. For a range of Rossby numbers greater than 1, after the breakdown of the anticyclone, a new weaker anticyclone forms, with a small-scale background vorticity of spectral shape given approximately by the -5/3 energy spectral law.

Kloosterziel, RC, Carnevale GF, Philippe D.  1993.  Propagation of barotropic dipoles over topography in a rotating tank. Dynamics of Atmospheres and Oceans. 19:65-100.   10.1016/0377-0265(93)90032-3   AbstractWebsite

It is shown how symmetric dipolar vortices can be formed by the action of an impulsive jet in a homogeneous single layer of fluid in a rotating tank. These dipoles are allowed to interact with a constant topographic slope, which can model a beta-plane or a continental shelf. A dipole's trajectory bends toward the right when climbing a slope and to the left when descending, as predicted by numerical simulations and analytical arguments. The maximum penetration of the dipoles over a slope, the adjustment to the slope, and formation of trailing lobes are compared with both numerical simulations and a two-point vortex model. The results suggest that Rossby wave radiation plays an important role in the interaction process.