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Secondary toroidal vortices above seamounts

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The classical Taylor-Couette flow appears in a homogeneous fluid between two coaxial cylinders rotating with different angular velocities. The stability loss by a Taylor-Couette flow leads to a bifurcation and generation of Taylor toroidal vortices. In this study we consider an analog to this effect in the case of seamounts in a homogeneous ocean on a f-plane. A seamount is approximated by two coaxial cylinders with heights h 1, h 2 standing one upon the other, the lower cylinder having a larger diameter. Taylor-Couette flow forms in a circular area above the ledge as follows from the differential squeezing of background vorticity above topography. The essential difference from the classical Taylor-Couette flow is the additional background rotation. We demonstrate that in this model ocean a current bifurcation in a circular area above a seamount ledge leads to the generation of toroidal vortices, also known as Taylor vortices in Taylor-Couette flows.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2011

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  • The Journal of Marine Research publishes peer-reviewed research articles covering a broad array of topics in physical, biological and chemical oceanography. Articles that deal with processes, as well as those that report significant observations, are welcome. In the area of biology, studies involving coupling between ecological and physical processes are preferred over those that report systematics. Authors benefit from thorough reviews of their manuscripts, where an attempt is made to maximize clarity. The time between submission and publication is kept to a minimum; there is no page charge.
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