Modifying shallow-water equations as a model for wave-vortex turbulence

Ashwin Vishnu Mohanan*, Pierre Augier^, Erik Lindborg*

* Linne Flow Center, Department of Mechanics, KTH, Stockholm, Sweden
^ LEGI / CNRS, Université Grenoble Alpes, Grenoble, France

11 December 2017 (17:21 - 17:34 hrs), AGU Fall Meeting 2017
NG14A-07, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center; 238-239
  1. Augier, P., Mohanan A.V. & Lindborg, E. Wave energy cascade in forced-dissipative one-layer shallow-water flows. J. Fluid Mech. (to be submitted).

  2. Lindborg, E. & Mohanan, A. V. A two-dimensional toy model for geophysical turbulence. Phys. Fluids (2017).

Article [2] selected as featured research by AIP (Nov 22, 2017)


1. Background

1.1. Atmospheric energy spectra from aircraft data: Nastrom and Gage (1985)

Nastrom and Gage
  • Synoptic scale spectra ($\lambda > 1000$ km) ~ $k^{-3}$
  • Mesoscale spectra ($\lambda = 1$ to $500$ km) ~ $k^{-5/3}$

1. Background

1.2. Possible explanations for the mesoscale energy $k^{-5/3}$ spectra

  • Gage (1979) & Lilly (1983): inverse energy cascade as in Kraichnan (1967)

  • Dewan (1979):downscale energy cascade as in Kolmogorov (1941)

Theoretical predictions
  • Lindborg (2006) and Waite & Bartello (2004): Stratified turbulence result in thin elongated structures. Vertical length scale $ l_v < l_b = u/N \approx 1 km$
  • Callies, Bühler and Ferrari (2016): Inertia gravity waves, with frequency $\omega \approx f$. i.e. $l_v \approx$ few metres.

Vertical resolution?

1. Background

1.3. Results from General Circulation Models

  • Augier & Lindborg (2013): GCMs such as AFES and MPAS model can simulate mesoscale energy cascade with coarse vertical resolution: 24 levels!
Drawing   Drawing

1. Background

1.4. Results from GCM


  • Minimum number of levels required to reproduce $k^{-5/3}$ spectra?
  • Single level model enough? 1-layer Shallow-water equation?

2. Quest for the simplest model

Why shallow-water equations?

$$\frac{\partial {\bf u}} {\partial t} + {\bf u}\cdot \nabla{\bf u} + f {\bf e}_z \times {\bf u} = -c^2 \nabla \eta $$ $$\frac{\partial \eta}{\partial t}+ {\bf u} \cdot \nabla \eta = - (1+\eta) \nabla \cdot {\bf u}$$

  • Explain many geophysical phenomena, including waves

  • Conserves potential vorticity and enstrophy.

Why not shallow-water equations?
  • Kinetic energy is not quadratic, but cubic: $E_K = (H + \eta) \frac{\mathbf{u}.\mathbf{u}}{2}$
  • Potential enstrophy is not quadratic in general. But in QG limit with strong rotation: $ Q = \frac{f +\zeta }{1+\eta} \rightarrow q = \zeta - f\eta$
  • Tendency for waves to develop into shocks giving rise to $k ^ {-2}$ energy spectra

2. Quest for the simplest model

2.1 Desirable properties for turbulence studies

  • Kinetic energy (KE) and Available potential energy (APE) must be quadratic and conserved
  • Potential enstrophy conservation
  • No shock formation

2. Quest for the simplest model

2.2. A toy model

(Lindborg and Mohanan 2017): Two simple modifications

  1. Replace RHS of the scalar equation:
    $ -(1+\eta) \nabla \cdot {\bf u} $          with         $ -\nabla \cdot {\bf u} $

  2. Replace advective operator:
                ${\bf u} \cdot \nabla$            with         ${\bf u_r} \cdot \nabla$

Helmholtz decompostion:

${\bf u} = \bf{u}_r + \bf{u}_d$

  • $ {\bf u}_r = -\nabla \times ( {\bf e_z} \Psi)$ is the rotational component
  • $\bf {u}_d = \nabla \chi$ is the divergent component

with $\Psi$ and $\chi$ being the stream function and the velocity potential respectively.

2. Quest for the simplest model

2.3. The toy model equations

$$\frac{\partial {\bf u}} {\partial t} + {\bf u}_r\cdot \nabla {\bf u} + f {\bf e}_z\times {\bf u} = -c \nabla \theta $$ $$\frac{\partial \theta}{\partial t}+ {\bf u}_r \cdot \nabla \theta = - c\nabla \cdot {\bf u} $$

where, $\theta = c\eta$

  • Pros: No shocks, KE and APE are quadratic and conserved, linearised potential vorticity conserved in the limit $Ro \rightarrow 0$: $q = \zeta - f\eta$

  • Cons: Full potential vorticity $Q$ is not exactly conserved

3. Results

3.1 Divergence fields ($\nabla\cdot\bf{u}$)

Shallow-water equations and toy model: forcing at $k_f = 6$

Wave-vortex fields

3. Results

3.2 Energy spectra and spectral energy fluxes

Toy model forced at $k_f = 6$

Drawing   Drawing

3. Results

3.3 Spectral energy fluxes

Toy-model forced at $k_f = 30$ compared to GCM results from Augier & Lindborg(2013)

Drawing   Drawing

3. Results

3.4 Energy spectra

Toy model forced at $k_f = 30$


3. Results

3.5 Potential vorticity ($q$) and wave ($a_+$) fields

Toy model forced at $k_f = 30$

3. Results

3.6 Potential vorticity ($q$) and wave ($a_+$) fields: Anticyclone formation

Toy model forced at $k_f = 30$

Wave-vortex fields

4. Outlook

  1. Toy model simulations in beta plane
  2. Large simulation of the toy model over a sphere
  3. Study of cyclonic/anticyclonic assymetry using the toy model
  4. Design of a laboratory experiment which can behave similar to toy-model equations

Thank you for your attention!

Open source and reproducible
  • Mohanan, A. V., Bonamy C. & Augier, P. FluidSim: modular, object-oriented Python package for CFD simulations J. Open Research Software (to be submitted) | Bitbucket fluiddyn/fluidsim | Github fluiddyn/fluidsim
  • Toy model developed by adding two modifications to the 1-layer shallow water equations.
  • Able to reproduce $k^{-5/3}$ energy spectra similar to atmospheric mesoscale spectra.
  • Conserves K.E., A.P.E. and linear potential enstrophy in the quadratic form: useful in turbulence studies.
  • Further reading:
    • Lindborg, E. & Mohanan, A. V. A two-dimensional toy model for geophysical turbulence. Phys. Fluids (2017)
CC-BY-SA: Ashwin Vishnu Mohanan