The influence of planetary rotation on oceanic double-diffusive fluxes
Does planetary rotation inhibit double-diffusive fluxes of heat and salt in oceanic thermohaline staircases? The Taylor number Ta, which measures the effect of planetary rotation on convection, is O(1) for laboratory diffusive staircases O(104) for oceanic diffusive staircases. Does this mean that laboratory-based flux laws are inapplicable in the ocean? Lacking flux measurements in double-diffusive systems, these questions are addressed using an analogy between double-diffusive convection and thermal convection. It is shown that Ta is an inappropriate parameter, and that rotating thermal fluxes collapse onto a simple curve when a new Taylor number Tano-slip is used instead of Ta. Fluxes are strongly inhibited for Tano-slip > 103. When extended to double-diffusion, this criterion implies that planetary rotation does not inhibit fluxes in either the laboratory or the ocean. There is no need to add a rotation correction to the laboratory-based flux laws before applying them to the ocean.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 01 November 1987
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