Anisotropic geophysical vortices.

Research paper by James C. JC McWilliams, Jeffrey B. JB Weiss

Indexed on: 01 Jun '94Published on: 01 Jun '94Published in: Chaos (Woodbury, N.Y.)


A survey is made of many types of coherent vortices in the Earth's ocean and atmosphere. These vortices often occur with strong, environmentally induced anisotropy in their velocity and vorticity fields. We propose a definition of the essential characteristics of coherent vortices and formulate hypotheses concerning their dynamical role in complex, anisotropic fluid motions. Finally, we analyze numerical solutions both for uniformly rotating, stably stratified three-dimensional flow and for two-dimensional flow for the phenomena of enstrophy cascade and dissipation, intermittency, isotropy in the appropriate coordinate frame, coherent vortex emergence, vortex population dynamics, and approach to a nonturbulent end state.