On the energetics of a two-layer baroclinic flow
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The formation, evolution and co-existence of jets and vortices in turbulent planetary atmospheres is examined using a two-layer quasi-geostrophic β -channel shallow-water model. The study in particular focuses on the vertical structure of jets. Following Panetta & Held (J. Atmos. Sci., vol. 45 (22), 1988, pp. 3354–3365), a vertical shear arising from latitudinal heating variations is imposed on the flow and maintained by thermal damping. Idealised convection between the upper and lower layers is implemented by adding cyclonic/anti-cyclonic pairs, called hetons, to the flow, though the qualitative flow evolution is evidently not sensitive to this or other small-scale stochastic forcing. A very wide range of simulations have been conducted. A characteristic simulation which exhibits alternation between two different phases, quiescent and turbulent, is examined in detail. We study the energy transfers between different components and modes, and find the classical picture of barotropic/baroclinic energy transfers to be too simplistic. We also discuss the dependence on thermal damping and on the imposed vertical shear. Both have a strong influence on the flow evolution. Thermal damping is a major factor affecting the stability of the flow while vertical shear controls the number of jets in the domain, qualitatively through the Rhines scale LRh = √U/β.
Jougla , T & Dritschel , D G 2017 , ' On the energetics of a two-layer baroclinic flow ' Journal of Fluid Mechanics , vol 816 , pp. 586-618 . DOI: 10.1017/jfm.2017.79
Journal of Fluid Mechanics
© 2017 Cambridge University Press. This work has been made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the author created, accepted version manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at: https://doi.org/10.1017/jfm.2017.79
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