Gravity currents in confined channels with environmental shear

AMS Citation:
Bryan, G. H., and R. Rotunno, 2014: Gravity currents in confined channels with environmental shear. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 71, 1121-1142, doi:10.1175/JAS-D-13-0157.1.
Date:2014-03-01
Resource Type:article
Title:Gravity currents in confined channels with environmental shear
Abstract: This study examines properties of gravity currents in confined channels with sheared environmental flow. Under the assumptions of steady and inviscid flow, two-dimensional analytic solutions are obtained for a wide range of shear values. The slope of a gravity current interface just above the surface increases as environmental shear α increases, which is consistent with previous studies, although here it is shown that the interface slope can exceed 80° for nondimensional shear α > 2. Then the inviscid-flow analytic solutions are compared with two- and three-dimensional numerical model simulations, which are turbulent and thus have dissipation. The simulated current depths are systematically lower, compared to a previous study, apparently because of different numerical techniques in this study that allow for a faster transition to turbulence along the gravity current interface. Furthermore, simulated gravity current depths are 10%-40% lower than the inviscid analytic values. To explain the model-produced current depths, a steady analytic theory with energy dissipation is revisited. It is shown that the numerical model current depths are close to values associated with the maximum possible dissipation rate in the simplest form of the analytic model for all values of α examined in this study. A primary conclusion is that dissipation plays an important and nonnegligible role in gravity currents within confined channels, with or without environmental shear.
Peer Review:Refereed
Copyright Information:Copyright 2014 American Meteorological Society (AMS). Permission to use figures, tables, and brief excerpts from this work in scientific and educational works is hereby granted provided that the source is acknowledged. Any use of material in this work that is determined to be "fair use" under Section 107 or that satisfies the conditions specified in Section 108 of the U.S. Copyright Law (17 USC, as revised by P.L. 94-553) does not require the Society's permission. Republication, systematic reproduction, posting in electronic form on servers, or other uses of this material, except as exempted by the above statements, requires written permission or license from the AMS. Additional details are provided in the AMS Copyright Policies, available from the AMS at 617-227-2425 or amspubs@ametsoc.org. Permission to place a copy of this work on this server has been provided by the AMS. The AMS does not guarantee that the copy provided here is an accurate copy of the published work.
OpenSky citable URL: ark:/85065/d7zc83s6
Publisher's Version: 10.1175/JAS-D-13-0157.1
Author(s):
  • George Bryan - NCAR/UCAR
  • Richard Rotunno - NCAR/UCAR
  • Random Profile

    SYSTEMS ADR II

    Recent & Upcoming Visitors