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Between quasigeostrophic and stratified turbulence

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Mathematics for the Fluid Earth

While it is well-established that the frequency disparity between vortical and wave motion is key to understanding the quasigeostrophic limit, i.e. strong rotation and stratification, the starting point for this contribution is that it has recently been established that there is no such frequency disparity in stratified turbulence without rotation. It remains to ask what happens in between these two limits, long held as the prevailing dynamics between deformation-scale eddies and the microscale where isotropy is recovered. To do this, ideas from numerical weather prediction were borrowed in order to explore numerically the nonhydrostatic Boussinesq equations starting from initial conditions that are close to our current fuzzy notions of balance for a variety of Rossby and Froude numbers. It is found that evolution is immediately away from this balance in the small scales, and from steep to much more shallow spectra. It will be argued that this conclusion is robust to unce rtainties in the definition of balance.

This talk is part of the Isaac Newton Institute Seminar Series series.

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