Laboratory and numerical model studies of a negatively-buoyant jet discharged horizontally into a homogeneous rotating fluid

Peter A. Davies, Rolf H. Kase, Iftikhar Ahmed

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    The results of laboratory experiments and numerical model simulations are described in which the motion of a round, negatively-buoyant, turbulent jet discharged horizontally above a slope into a rotating homogeneous fluid has been investigated. For the laboratory study, flow visualisation data are presented to show the complex three-dimensional flow fields generated by the discharge. Analysis of the experimental data indicates that the spatial and temporal developments of the flow field are controlled primarily by the lateral and vertical discharge position of the jet (with respect to the bounding surfaces of the container of width W ) and the specific momentum (M 0) and buoyancy (B 0) fluxes driving the jet. The flow is seen to be characterised by the formation of (i) a primary anticyclonic eddy (PCC) close to the source, (ii) an associated secondary cyclonic eddy (SCE) and (iii) a buoyancy-driven bottom boundary current along the right side boundary wall. For the parameter ranges studied, the size L p,s and spatial location x p,s of the PCC and SCE (and the nose velocity u N of the boundary current) are shown to be only weakly-dependent upon the value of the mixed parameter  M OO/B 0, where O is the background rotation rate. Both L p and x p are shown to scale with the separation distance y*/W of the right side wall (y = 0) from the source (y = y*), both L s and x s scale satisfactorily with the length scale l M (= M 0 3/4 /B 0 1/2) and u N is determined by the appropriate gravity current speed [g']  0 H]1/2 and the separation distance y*/W.

    Numerical model results show good qualitative agreement with the laboratory data with regard to the generation of the PCC, SCE and boundary current as characteristic features of the flow in question. In addition, extension of the numerical model to diagnose potential vorticity and plume thickness distributions for the laboratory cases allow the differences in momentum- and buoyancy-dominated flows to be clearly delineated. Specifically, the characteristic features of the SCE are shown to be strongly dependent upon the value of M  OO/B O for the buoyant jet flow; not least, the numerical model data are able to confirm the controlling role played by the boundary walls in the laboratory experiments. Quantitative agreement between the numerical and laboratory model data is fair; most significantly, the success of the former model in simulating the dominant flow features from the latter enables the reliable extension of the numerical model to be made to cases of direct oceanic interest.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)127-183
    Number of pages57
    JournalGeophysical & Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics
    Issue number1-2
    Publication statusPublished - 2001


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