Laboratory Study of Rotating, Stratified, Oscillatory Flow over a Seamount

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  • 1 Department of mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona
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Abstract

Pure oscillatory flow of a rotating, linearly stratified fluid in the vicinity of an isolated topography of revolution is considered in the laboratory. The pertinent dimensionless parameters governing the motion are the Rossby (Ro), temporal Rossby (Rot), Burger (S), and Ekman (E) numbers and geometrical length-scale ratios. Experiments are considered for fixed S, E and geometry and ranges of Ro and Rot given by 0.003 ≤ Ro ≤ 0.03 and 0.2 ≤ Rot ≤ 2.4. A Rot against Ro regime diagram is developed, which includes the following flow classifications: (i) attached flow (AF), (ii) tidal oscillation loops (TOL), (iii) trapped waves-anticyclonic/cyclonic residual current (WAC), (iv) trapped waves-anticyclonic residual current (WA), (v) attached eddies (AE), and (vi) vortex shedding (VS).

For all flow regimes a rectified mean anticyclonic motion is observed in the vicinity of the topography. For superinertial frequencies (i.e., Rot > 1), a resonance phenomenon enhances the streamwise speed near the obstacle well beyond the corresponding velocity in the undisturbed flow; this flow enhancement is strongest at levels above the summit of the obstacle. The resonance phenomenon, as evidenced by the streamwise and cross-stream sizes of the observed tidal oscillation loops normalized with the undisturbed tidal displacement, is quantified at various streamwise locations for a series of experiments with fixed geometry, Ro=0.013, S=1.0, and various Ro, in the range 0.6≤ Rot≤2.4. These experiments demonstrate amplification peaks near Rot∼1.0 and 2.0. For subinertial frequencies (i.e., Rot < 1), the rectified flow is bottom trapped in the sense that the mean anticyclonic flow is strongest near the obstacle and decreases at higher elevations. The laboratory observations are shown to depict some of the qualitative aspects of recent observations of oceanic motions in the vicinity of Fieberling Guyot; in particular, upper-level enhancement of superinertial components and bottom trapping of subinertial ones.

Abstract

Pure oscillatory flow of a rotating, linearly stratified fluid in the vicinity of an isolated topography of revolution is considered in the laboratory. The pertinent dimensionless parameters governing the motion are the Rossby (Ro), temporal Rossby (Rot), Burger (S), and Ekman (E) numbers and geometrical length-scale ratios. Experiments are considered for fixed S, E and geometry and ranges of Ro and Rot given by 0.003 ≤ Ro ≤ 0.03 and 0.2 ≤ Rot ≤ 2.4. A Rot against Ro regime diagram is developed, which includes the following flow classifications: (i) attached flow (AF), (ii) tidal oscillation loops (TOL), (iii) trapped waves-anticyclonic/cyclonic residual current (WAC), (iv) trapped waves-anticyclonic residual current (WA), (v) attached eddies (AE), and (vi) vortex shedding (VS).

For all flow regimes a rectified mean anticyclonic motion is observed in the vicinity of the topography. For superinertial frequencies (i.e., Rot > 1), a resonance phenomenon enhances the streamwise speed near the obstacle well beyond the corresponding velocity in the undisturbed flow; this flow enhancement is strongest at levels above the summit of the obstacle. The resonance phenomenon, as evidenced by the streamwise and cross-stream sizes of the observed tidal oscillation loops normalized with the undisturbed tidal displacement, is quantified at various streamwise locations for a series of experiments with fixed geometry, Ro=0.013, S=1.0, and various Ro, in the range 0.6≤ Rot≤2.4. These experiments demonstrate amplification peaks near Rot∼1.0 and 2.0. For subinertial frequencies (i.e., Rot < 1), the rectified flow is bottom trapped in the sense that the mean anticyclonic flow is strongest near the obstacle and decreases at higher elevations. The laboratory observations are shown to depict some of the qualitative aspects of recent observations of oceanic motions in the vicinity of Fieberling Guyot; in particular, upper-level enhancement of superinertial components and bottom trapping of subinertial ones.

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