Deciphering the role of small-scale inhomogeneity on geophysical flow structuration: a stochastic approach

Type Article
Date 2020-04
Language English
Author(s) Bauer Werner1, Chandramouli Pranav1, Chapron Bertrand2, Li Long1, Mémin Etienne1
Affiliation(s) 1 : Inria/ IRMAR, Campus universitaire de Beaulieu, 35042 Rennes Cedex, France
2 : Ifremer, LOPS, Pointe du Diable, Plouzané 29280, France
Source Journal of Physical Oceanography (0022-3670) (American Meteorological Society), 2020-04 , Vol. 50 , P. 983–1003
DOI 10.1175/JPO-D-19-0164.1

An important open question in fluid dynamics concerns the effect of smallscales in structuring a fluid flow. In oceanic or atmospheric flows, this is aptly captured in wave-current interactions through the study of the wellknown Langmuir secondary circulation. Such wave-current interactions are described by the Craik-Leibovich system, in which the action of a wave induced velocity, the Stokes drift, produces a so called “vortex force” that causes streaking in the flow. In this work, we show that these results can be generalized as a generic effect of the spatial inhomogeneity of the statistical properties of the small-scale flow components. As demonstrated, this is well captured through a stochastic representation of the flow.

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