An experimental study on thermal circulation driven by horizontal differential heating
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Circulation driven by horizontal differential heating is studied, using a double-walled Plexiglas tank (20×15×2.5 cm3) filled with salt water. For instances of heating/cooling from above and below, results indicate that there is always quasi-equilibrium circulation. In contrast to most previous results from experimental/ numerical studies, circulation in our experiments appears in the form of a shallow cell adjacent to the boundary of thermal forcing. The non-dimensional stream-function maximum confirms the 1/5-power law of Rossby, Ψ ∼Ra1/5 L . Dissipation rate measured in the experiments appears to be consistent with theory. For cases of heating/cooling from a sloping bottom, circulation is similar to cases with a flat bottom; circulation is strong if heating is below cooling, but it is rather weak if heating is above cooling. Nevertheless, circulation in all cases is visible to the naked eye.
Author Posting. © Cambridge University Press, 2005. This article is posted here by permission of Cambridge University Press for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Fluid Mechanics 540 (2005): 49-73, doi:10.1017/S002211200500577X.