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Inertial Wave Turbulence Driven by Elliptical Instability

Abstract : The combination of elliptical deformation of streamlines and vorticity can lead to the destabilization of any rotating flow via the elliptical instability. Such a mechanism has been invoked as a possible source of turbulence in planetary cores subject to tidal deformations. The saturation of the elliptical instability has been shown to generate turbulence composed of nonlinearly interacting waves and strong columnar vortices with varying respective amplitudes, depending on the control parameters and geometry. In this Letter, we present a suite of numerical simulations to investigate the saturation and the transition from vortex-dominated to wave-dominated regimes. This is achieved by simulating the growth and saturation of the elliptical instability in an idealized triply periodic domain, adding a frictional damping to the geostrophic component only, to mimic its interaction with boundaries. We reproduce several experimental observations within one idealized local model and complement them by reaching more extreme flow parameters. In particular, a wave-dominated regime that exhibits many signatures of inertial wave turbulence is characterized for the first time. This regime is expected in planetary interiors.
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Submitted on : Friday, April 13, 2018 - 11:00:49 AM
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Thomas Le Reun, Benjamin Favier, Adrian J. Barker, Michael Le Bars. Inertial Wave Turbulence Driven by Elliptical Instability. Physical Review Letters, American Physical Society, 2017, 119 (3), ⟨10.1103/PhysRevLett.119.034502⟩. ⟨hal-01765103⟩

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