Accession Number:

ADP013580

Title:

From Stirring to Mixing of Momentum: Cascades from Balanced Flows to Dissipation in the Oceanic Interior

Descriptive Note:

Conference paper

Corporate Author:

CALIFORNIA UNIV LOS ANGELES INST OF GEOPHYSICS AND PLANETARY PHYSICS

Report Date:

2001-01-19

Pagination or Media Count:

8.0

Abstract:

Under the influences of stable density stratification and Earths rotation, large-scale flows in the ocean and atmosphere have a mainly balanced dynamic-sometimes called the slow manifold-in the sense that there are diagnostic hydrostatic and gradient-wind balances that constrain the fluid acceleration. The nonlinear balance equations are a successful approximate model for this regime, and we have identified mathematically explicit limits of their time integrability. We hypothesize that these limits are indicative, at least approximately, of the transition from the larger-scale regime of inverse energy cascades of anisotropic flows to the smaller-scale regimes of forward energy cascade to dissipation of more nearly isotropic flows and intermittently breaking inertia-gravity waves. In the oceans these regime transitions occur mostly in the scale range of 0.1-10 km-in between the mesoscale and fine-structure where Rossby Ro, Froude Fr, and Richardson Ri numbers are typically neither small nor large. In pursuit of testing this hypothesis we have revisited several classical problems, including gravitational, centrifugalsymmetric, elliptical, barotropic, and baroclinic instabilities. In all cases we find definite evidence, albeit still incompletely understood, of fluid-dynamical transitions in the neighborhood of loss of balanced integrability.

Subject Categories:

  • Physical and Dynamic Oceanography

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE