The turbulent transition of a supercritical downslope flow: sensitivity to downstream conditions

Citation:
Winters, KB.  2016.  The turbulent transition of a supercritical downslope flow: sensitivity to downstream conditions. Journal of Fluid Mechanics. 792:997-1012.

Abstract:

Blocked, continuously stratified, crest-controlled flows have hydraulically supercritical downslope flow in the lee of a ridge-like obstacle. The downslope flow separates from the obstacle and, depending on conditions further downstream, transitions to a subcritical state. A controlled, stratified overflow and its transition to a subcritical state are investigated here in a set of three-dimensional numerical experiments in which the height of a second, downstream ridge is varied. The downslope flow is associated with an isopycnal and streamline bifurcation, which acts to form a nearly uniform-density isolating layer and a sharp pycnocline that separates deeper blocked and stratified fluid between the ridges from the flow above. The height of the downstream obstacle is communicated upstream via gravity waves that propagate along the density interface and set the separation depth of the downslope flow. The penetration depth of the downslope flow, its susceptibility to shear instabilities, and the amount of energy dissipated in the turbulent outflow all increase as the height of a downstream ridge, which effectively sets the downstream boundary conditions, is reduced.

DOI:

http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/jfm.2016.113