Stratified Rotating Flow over and around Isolated Three-Dimensional Topography

D.L. Boyer, P. A. Davies, W.R. Holland, F. Biolley, H. Honji

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    Laboratory and numerical experiments have been conducted on the flow of a linearly stratified rotating fluid past isolated obstacles of revolution (conical and cosine-squared profiles). Laboratory experiments are considered for a range of Rossby, Ekman and Burger numbers, the pertinent dynamical parameters of the system. In these experiments, inertial, Coriolis, pressure, viscous and buoyancy forces all play a significant role. Emphasis is given to examining the nature of the time development of the flow fields as well as its long-time behaviour, including eddy shedding. It is shown, for example, that increased stratification tends to diminish the steering effect of the obstacle, other parameters being fixed, at elevation levels above the topography. At levels below the top of the obstacle, increased stratification tends to force the fluid around rather than over the body and this, in turn, tends to develop vortex shedding at smaller Reynolds numbers than would occur in corresponding lower stratification cases. Data for the cone reveal that the Strouhal number for the eddy-shedding regime is relatively insensitive to the values of Ro, Ek and S for the range of parameters investigated. Stratification tends to induce lee waves in the topography wake, and the nature of this lee-wave pattern is modified by the presence of rotation. For example, it is demonstrated that for vertically upward rotation, the lee waves on the right, facing downstream, have a larger amplitude than their counterparts at the same location on the left. The steering effects, as predicted by a three-level quasigeostrophic numerical model, are shown to be in good agreement with the laboratory results for a narrow range of parameter space. The numerical model is used to examine the effects of rotation, friction and stratification in modifying the flow. The quasigeostrophic numerical simulations do not produce eddy shedding, and it is concluded that a full, primitive equation numerical model would be needed to explore this phenomenon.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)213-241
    Number of pages29
    JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A - Mathematical Physical and Engineering Sciences
    Issue number1564
    Publication statusPublished - 1987


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