Experiments were conducted on a rotating fluid annulus to study the basic interactions between baroclinic lower flows and a stably stratified upper layer. Sufficiently stable stratification is necessary for steady flows to emerge in the lower layer. Upward fluid motions make the baroclinic flows permeate into the upper layer. The stable stratification, however, suppresses upward motions so that zonal fluid velocities decrease with height. In fact, their maximum appears at the top level of the baroclinic lower layer and the sign of the radial temperature gradient changes there; namely, it is warmer on the inner side of the annulus in the upper layer. This temperature profile is reflected in a meridional fluid circulation mixing both layers. In the upper layer of the wave flow, there exists a critical level below and above which the zonal fluid velocities have opposite directions for the wave to have a phase shift of half a wavelength in appearance. The experimental results correspond to real atmospheric phenomena.
Experiments in Fluids – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 6, 2005
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