Dynamics of three-dimensional turbulent wall plumes and implications for estimates of submarine glacier melting
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Subglacial discharges have been observed to generate buoyant plumes along the ice face of Greenland tidewater glaciers. These plumes have been traditionally modeled using classical plume theory, and their characteristic parameters (e.g., velocity) are employed in the widely used three-equation melt parameterization. However, the applicability of plume theory for three-dimensional turbulent wall plumes is questionable because of the complex near-wall plume dynamics. In this study, corrections to the classical plume theory are introduced to account for the presence of a wall. In particular, the drag and entrainment coefficients are quantified for a three-dimensional turbulent wall plume using data from direct numerical simulations. The drag coefficient is found to be an order of magnitude larger than that for a boundary layer flow over a flat plate at a similar Reynolds number. This result suggests a significant increase in the melting estimates by the current parameterization. However, the volume flux in a wall plume is found to be one-half that of a conical plume that has 2 times the buoyancy flux. This finding suggests that the total entrainment (per unit area) of ambient water is the same and that the plume scalar characteristics (i.e., temperature and salinity) can be predicted reasonably well using classical plume theory.
Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2018. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 48 (2018):1941-1950, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-17-0194.1.
Suggested CitationJournal of Physical Oceanography 48 (2018):1941-1950
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