The effects of boundary turbulence on canyon flows forced by periodic along-shelf currents

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Boyer, D.L. et al.: The effects of boundary turbulence on canyon flows forced by periodic along-shelf currents. In: Journal of Physical Oceanography 36 (2006), Nr. 5, S. 813-826. DOI:

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Previous laboratory experiments and associated numerical models of laminar flows forced by oscillatory, along-shelf background currents are extended to include some of the effects of boundary-generated turbulence. The experiments are conducted in the 13-m-diameter rotating-flow facility in Grenoble, France. Two pairs of case studies, one at a large forcing velocity (designated as FAST) for which the boundary layers are fully turbulent during part of the flow cycle and one at relatively smaller forcing (SLOW) for which transitional boundary layers are operative at the higher speeds of the background flow, are conducted. Smooth and artificially roughened boundaries are considered, respectively, for each of these pairs. Phase-averaged and time-mean velocity, vertical vorticity, and horizontal divergence fields are found to be qualitatively similar to those of previous laminar experiments. The similarities in the time-mean fields are that (i) within the canyon they are dominated by cyclonic vorticity with maxima centered near the shelf break; (ii) within and in the vicinity of the canyon the general circulation pattern includes a net transport into the canyon through its mouth, a net upwelling in the canyon interior, a transport away from the canyon over the shelf break along both sides of the canyon, and, by inference, a return flow to the deep ocean; and (iii) the interior time-mean flow is characterized by a well-defined coastal current whose axis follows the shelf in the vicinity of the shelf break, with the coast on the right. It is found that the measurements of the characteristic speed of the residual or time-mean flow within the canyon for the transitional and fully turbulent experiments do not follow the scaling law derived earlier for laminar experiments. An alternative scaling analysis for large-Reynolds-number flows is thus derived. Although sufficient numbers of experiments are not available to test the hypothesis fully, the measurements available for the fully turbulent flows are consistent with the theory advanced.
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Document Type: article
Publishing status: publishedVersion
Issue Date: 2006
Appears in Collections:Fakultät für Mathematik und Physik

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