The interaction of two co-rotating quasi-geostrophic vortices in the vicinity of a surface buoyancy filament

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Abstract

In this paper, we investigate the interaction between two like-signed quasi-geostrophic uniform potential vorticity internal vortices in the vicinity of a surface buoyancy anomaly filament in a three dimensional, stably stratified and rapidly rotating fluid. The surface buoyancy distribution locally modifies the pressure fields and generates a shear flow. We start the study by first considering the effects of a uniform linear horizontal shear on the binary vortex interaction. We confirm that a cooperative shear facilitates the merger of a pair of vortices while an adverse shear has the opposite effect. We next investigate the binary vortex interaction in the vicinity of the surface buoyancy filament explicitly. Here, not only the filament generates a shear flow, but it also responds dynamically to the forcing by the vortex pair. The filament destabilises and forms buoyancy billows at the surface. These billows interact with the internal vortices. In particular, a surface billow may pair with one of the internal vortices. In such cases, the like-signed internal vortex pair may separate if they are initially moderately distant from each other.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-155
Number of pages26
JournalGeophysical and Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics
Volume112
Issue number2
Early online date4 Dec 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords

  • Vortex dynamics
  • Vortex merger
  • Surface quasi-geostrophy
  • Quasi-geostrophy

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