Numerical studies in rotating and stratified turbulence
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Although turbulence has been studied for more than five hundred years, a thorough understanding of turbulent flows is still missing. Nowadays computing power can offer an alternative tool, besides measurements and experiments, to give some insights into turbulent dynamics. In this thesis, numerical simulations are employed to study homogeneous and wall-bounded turbulence in rotating and stably stratified conditions, as encountered in geophysical flows where the rotation of the Earth as well as the vertical density variation influence the dynamics.
In the context of homogeneous turbulence, we investigate how the transfer of energy among scales is affected by the presence of strong but finite rotation and stratification. Unlike geostrophic turbulence, we show that there is a forward energy cascade towards small scales which is initiated at the forcing scales. The contribution of this process to the general dynamic is secondary at large scales but becomes dominant at smaller scales where it leads to a shallowing of the energy spectrum, from k-3 to k-5/3. Two-point statistics show a good agreement with measurements in the atmosphere, suggesting that this process is an important mechanism for energy transfer in the atmosphere.
Boundary layers subjected to system rotation around the wall-normal axis are usually referred to as Ekman layers and they can be seen as a model of the atmospheric and oceanic boundary layers developing at mid and high latitudes. We study the turbulent dynamics in Ekman layers by means of numerical simulations, focusing on the turbulent structures developing at moderately high Reynolds numbers. For neutrally stratified conditions, we show that there exists a turbulent helicity cascade in the logarithmic region. We focus on the effect of a stable stratification produced by a vertical positive temperature gradient. For moderate stratification, continuously turbulent regimes are produced which are in fair agreement with existing theories and models used in the context of atmospheric boundary layer dynamics. For larger degree of stratification, we show that laminar and turbulent motions coexist and displace along inclined patterns similar to what has been recently observed in other transitional flows.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2013. , xi, 54 p.
Trita-MEK, ISSN 0348-467X ; 2013:21
Fluid Mechanics and Acoustics Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-136947ISBN: 978-91-7501-961-1OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-136947DiVA: diva2:677554
2014-01-17, Kollegiesalen, Brinellvägen 8, KTH, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
van Heijst, Gert-Jan, Professor
Lindborg, Erik, Docent
QC 201312102013-12-102013-12-102013-12-10Bibliographically approved
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