Experiments in a rotating source-sink annulus
Ingram, Richard Grant
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An experimental investigation of the different flow regimes in a rotating source-sink annulus is described. Both the steady and transient velocities are measured over a large range of Ekman Reynolds number and Rossby number. Differing probe configurations are used to investigate the corresponding motions in spatially separated regions of the annulus. The steady interior circulation field exhibits a strong dependence on the imposed flux values. The non-dimensional circulation increases with radius over a certain radial range for higher system Rossby number. The observed profile changes are related to the existence of an unstable Ekman layer at some inner radial position. The thickness of the observed Ekman layers is typically 85% of the theoretical scale height. For higher local Reynolds number (ReL), the thickness is generally much smaller. The width of the sidewall boundary layer adjacent to the sink increases with larger system Rossby number. Adjacent to the source, the radial boundary layer is wider than that at the sink wall. Observed oscillations are separable into three types. For ReL > 50, instability waves are observed in the Ekman layer flow. In the same Re range, inertial oscillations are detected in the interior region of the annulus. The observed inertial wave frequency at differing radial positions is explained by incorporating Doppler shift corrections and taking account of the steady circulation profiles. The radial wavelength of the inertial waves corresponds to the length of the Class A Ekman layer instabi1ity. For small values of Re and local Rossby number, an axisymmetric disturbance, with a characteristic frequency slightly greater than therotation rate, is observed at the outer radial positions.
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution August, 1971
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