## The three-dimensional vortical nature of atmospheric and oceanic turbulent flowsTools
Dritschel, D. G., de la Torre Juárez, M. and Ambaum, M. H. P.
(1999)
Full text not archived in this repository. To link to this article DOI: 10.1063/1.870014 ## Abstract/SummaryUsing a novel numerical method at unprecedented resolution, we demonstrate that structures of small to intermediate scale in rotating, stratified flows are intrinsically three-dimensional. Such flows are characterized by vortices (spinning volumes of fluid), regions of large vorticity gradients, and filamentary structures at all scales. It is found that such structures have predominantly three-dimensional dynamics below a horizontal scale LLR, where LR is the so-called Rossby radius of deformation, equal to the characteristic vertical scale of the fluid H divided by the ratio of the rotational and buoyancy frequencies f/N. The breakdown of two-dimensional dynamics at these scales is attributed to the so-called "tall-column instability" [D. G. Dritschel and M. de la Torre Juárez, J. Fluid. Mech. 328, 129 (1996)], which is active on columnar vortices that are tall after scaling by f/N, or, equivalently, that are narrow compared with LR. Moreover, this instability eventually leads to a simple relationship between typical vertical and horizontal scales: for each vertical wave number (apart from the vertically averaged, barotropic component of the flow) the average horizontal wave number is equal to f/N times the vertical wave number. The practical implication is that three-dimensional modeling is essential to capture the behavior of rotating, stratified fluids. Two-dimensional models are not valid for scales below LR. ©1999 American Institute of Physics.
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