Eddy Generation at a Convex Corner by a Coastal Current in a Rotating System
Rotating baroclinic and barotropic boundary currents flowing around a corner in the laboratory were studied in order to discover the circumstances under which eddies were produced at the corner. Such flows are reminiscent of oceanic coastal flows around capes. When the baroclinic currents, which consisted of surface flows bounded by a density front, encountered a sharp corner, immediately downstream of the corner an anticyclone grew in the surface layer for an angle of greater than 40 degrees. Varying the initial condition of the flow or the depth of the lower layer did not noticeably affect the gyre's properties except for its growth speed, which was greater when the lower layer was shallower. The barotropic currents were pumped along a sloping bottom, and also formed anticyclonic gyres which quickly attained an approximately steady state. For a given topography, the size of the gyre was proportional to the inertial radius u/f. Volume flux calculations based on the surface velocity revealed vertical shear which increased with gyre size. Hydraulic models were also applied to flow around gently curving topography to determine the critical separation curvature as a function of upstream parameters. (Copies available exclusively from MIT Libraries, Rm. 14-0551, Cambridge, MA 02139-4307. Ph. 617-253-5668; Fax 617-253-1690.).
- Pub Date:
- January 1992
- Physical Oceanography; Physics: Fluid and Plasma