Strong interactions between two corotating quasi-geostrophic vortices

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Abstract

In this paper we investigate the interaction between two corotating quasi-geostrophic vortices. The initially ellipsoidal vortices are separated horizontally by a distance corresponding to the margin of stability, as determined from an ellipsoidal analysis. The subsequent interaction depends on four parameters: the vortex volume ratio, the vertical centroid separation, and the height-to-width aspect ratios of each vortex. The most commonly observed strong interaction is partial merger, where only part of the weaker vortex is incorporated into the stronger one or cast into filamentary debris. Despite the proliferation of small-scale filamentary structure during many vortex interactions, on average the self-induced vortex energy exhibits an 'inverse cascade' to larger scales, broadly consistent with spectral theories of turbulence. Curiously, we observe that a range of intermediate-scale vortices are preferentially sheared out during the interactions, leaving two main populations of large and small vortices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-133
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Volume592
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2007

Keywords

  • VORTEX MERGER
  • TURBULENCE
  • FLOWS
  • SIMULATION
  • FLUID

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