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Cyclone-anticyclone asymmetry of large-scale wakes in the laboratory

Abstract : We performed an experimental study of large-scale wakes in a rotating shallow-water layer. Standard particle image velocimetry was used to measure the horizontal velocity field, while a laser-induced fluorescence technique was used to measure the geopotential deviation (i.e., the interface deviation). According to these measurements, we were able to quantify the dynamics in a wide region of parameter space beyond the quasi-geostrophic regime. For obstacles larger than the deformation radius and with small Rossby numbers, a significant asymmetry occurs in the wake between cyclonic and anticyclonic vortices. These parameters correspond to a frontal geostrophic regime with the relative interface deviation being larger than 0.1-0.2. In this case, anticyclones remain coherent and circular, whereas cyclones tend to be elongated and distorted. More surprisingly, for some extreme cases, coherent cyclones do not emerge at all, and only an anticyclonic vortex street appears several diameters behind the obstacle. The transition from a quasi-geostrophic to a frontal geostrophic regime is characterized by a strong increase in the Strouhal number, which can reach a value up to 0.6. Hence, we found that a large-scale wake could differ strongly from the classical Karman street when the relative geopotential deviation becomes larger than the Rossby number. © 2006 American Institute of Physics.
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Submitted on : Friday, June 28, 2013 - 3:10:42 PM
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G. Perret, A. Stegner, Thierry Pichon, Marie Farge. Cyclone-anticyclone asymmetry of large-scale wakes in the laboratory. Physics of Fluids, American Institute of Physics, 2006, 18 (3), pp.18-29. ⟨10.1063/1.2179387⟩. ⟨hal-00830687⟩



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