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On the Vanishing of the Interfacial Ekman Layer

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  • 1 LEGI, CNRS UMR 5519, Université de Grenoble, Grenoble, France
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Abstract

It is shown that an interfacial Ekman layer between two water masses of different density vanishes in time for all Prandtl number 0 < Pr < ∞, demonstrating that an interfacial Ekman layer is a transient phenomena and the interface broadens in a way approaching geostrophy. For Pr = 0, undamped inertial oscillations spread away from the interface, and the case Pr = ∞ represents the classical Ekman layer.

Corresponding author address: Achim Wirth, LEGI, CNRS UMR 5519, BP 53, 38041 Grenoble CEDEX 9, France. E-mail: achim.wirth@hmg.inpg.fr

Abstract

It is shown that an interfacial Ekman layer between two water masses of different density vanishes in time for all Prandtl number 0 < Pr < ∞, demonstrating that an interfacial Ekman layer is a transient phenomena and the interface broadens in a way approaching geostrophy. For Pr = 0, undamped inertial oscillations spread away from the interface, and the case Pr = ∞ represents the classical Ekman layer.

Corresponding author address: Achim Wirth, LEGI, CNRS UMR 5519, BP 53, 38041 Grenoble CEDEX 9, France. E-mail: achim.wirth@hmg.inpg.fr
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