Abstract

The turbulent bottom boundary layer for rotating, stratified flow along a slope is explored through theory and numerical simulation. The model flow begins with a uniform current along constant-depth contours and with flat isopycnals intersecting the slope. The boundary layer is then allowed to evolve in time and in distance from the boundary. Ekman transport up or down the slope advects the initial density gradient, eventually giving rise to substantial buoyancy forces. The rearranged density structure opposes the cross-slope flow, causing the transport to decay exponentially from its initial value (given by Ekman theory) to near zero, over a time scale proportional to f/(Nα)2, where f is the Coriolis frequency, N is the buoyancy frequency, and α is the slope angle. The boundary stress slowing the along-slope flow decreases simultaneously, leading to a very “slippery” bottom boundary compared with that predicted by Ekman theory.

This content is only available as a PDF.