123 research outputs found

    Zonal flow regimes in rotating anelastic spherical shells: an application to giant planets

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    The surface zonal winds observed in the giant planets form a complex jet pattern with alternating prograde and retrograde direction. While the main equatorial band is prograde on the gas giants, both ice giants have a pronounced retrograde equatorial jet. We use three-dimensional numerical models of compressible convection in rotating spherical shells to explore the properties of zonal flows in different regimes where either rotation or buoyancy dominates the force balance. We conduct a systematic parameter study to quantify the dependence of zonal flows on the background density stratification and the driving of convection. We find that the direction of the equatorial zonal wind is controlled by the ratio of buoyancy and Coriolis force. The prograde equatorial band maintained by Reynolds stresses is found in the rotation-dominated regime. In cases where buoyancy dominates Coriolis force, the angular momentum per unit mass is homogenised and the equatorial band is retrograde, reminiscent to those observed in the ice giants. In this regime, the amplitude of the zonal jets depends on the background density contrast with strongly stratified models producing stronger jets than comparable weakly stratified cases. Furthermore, our results can help to explain the transition between solar-like and "anti-solar" differential rotations found in anelastic models of stellar convection zones. In the strongly stratified cases, we find that the leading order force balance can significantly vary with depth (rotation-dominated inside and buoyancy-dominated in a thin surface layer). This so-called "transitional regime" has a visible signature in the main equatorial jet which shows a pronounced dimple where flow amplitudes notably decay towards the equator. A similar dimple is observed on Jupiter, which suggests that convection in the planet interior could possibly operate in this regime.Comment: 20 pages, 15 figures, 4 tables, accepted for publication in Icaru

    Turbulent Rayleigh-B\'enard convection in spherical shells

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    We simulate numerically Boussinesq convection in non-rotating spherical shells for a fluid with a unity Prandtl number and Rayleigh numbers up to 10910^9. In this geometry, curvature and radial variations of the gravitationnal acceleration yield asymmetric boundary layers. A systematic parameter study for various radius ratios (from η=ri/ro=0.2\eta=r_i/r_o=0.2 to η=0.95\eta=0.95) and gravity profiles allows us to explore the dependence of the asymmetry on these parameters. We find that the average plume spacing is comparable between the spherical inner and outer bounding surfaces. An estimate of the average plume separation allows us to accurately predict the boundary layer asymmetry for the various spherical shell configurations explored here. The mean temperature and horizontal velocity profiles are in good agreement with classical Prandtl-Blasius laminar boundary layer profiles, provided the boundary layers are analysed in a dynamical frame, that fluctuates with the local and instantaneous boundary layer thicknesses. The scaling properties of the Nusselt and Reynolds numbers are investigated by separating the bulk and boundary layer contributions to the thermal and viscous dissipation rates using numerical models with η=0.6\eta=0.6 and a gravity proportional to 1/r21/r^2. We show that our spherical models are consistent with the predictions of Grossmann \& Lohse's (2000) theory and that Nu(Ra)Nu(Ra) and Re(Ra)Re(Ra) scalings are in good agreement with plane layer results.Comment: 43 pages, 25 figures, 2 tables, accepted for publication in JF

    Libration driven elliptical instability

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    The elliptical instability is a generic instability which takes place in any rotating flow whose streamlines are elliptically deformed. Up to now, it has been widely studied in the case of a constant, non-zero differential rotation between the fluid and the elliptical distortion with applications in turbulence, aeronautics, planetology and astrophysics. In this letter, we extend previous analytical studies and report the first numerical and experimental evidence that elliptical instability can also be driven by libration, i.e. periodic oscillations of the differential rotation between the fluid and the elliptical distortion, with a zero mean value. Our results suggest that intermittent, space-filling turbulence due to this instability can exist in the liquid cores and sub-surface oceans of so-called synchronized planets and moons

    A Heuristic Framework for Next-Generation Models of Geostrophic Convective Turbulence

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    Many geophysical and astrophysical phenomena are driven by turbulent fluid dynamics, containing behaviors separated by tens of orders of magnitude in scale. While direct simulations have made large strides toward understanding geophysical systems, such models still inhabit modest ranges of the governing parameters that are difficult to extrapolate to planetary settings. The canonical problem of rotating Rayleigh-B\'enard convection provides an alternate approach - isolating the fundamental physics in a reduced setting. Theoretical studies and asymptotically-reduced simulations in rotating convection have unveiled a variety of flow behaviors likely relevant to natural systems, but still inaccessible to direct simulation. In lieu of this, several new large-scale rotating convection devices have been designed to characterize such behaviors. It is essential to predict how this potential influx of new data will mesh with existing results. Surprisingly, a coherent framework of predictions for extreme rotating convection has not yet been elucidated. In this study, we combine asymptotic predictions, laboratory and numerical results, and experimental constraints to build a heuristic framework for cross-comparison between a broad range of rotating convection studies. We categorize the diverse field of existing predictions in the context of asymptotic flow regimes. We then consider the physical constraints that determine the points of intersection between flow behavior predictions and experimental accessibility. Applying this framework to several upcoming devices demonstrates that laboratory studies may soon be able to characterize geophysically-relevant flow regimes. These new data may transform our understanding of geophysical and astrophysical turbulence, and the conceptual framework developed herein should provide the theoretical infrastructure needed for meaningful discussion of these results.Comment: 36 pages, 8 figures. CHANGES: in revision at Geophysical and Astrophysical Fluid Dynamic

    Regional stratification at the top of Earth’s core due to core-mantle boundary heat flux variations

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    Earth’s magnetic field is generated by turbulent motion in its fluid outer core. Although the bulk of the outer core is vigorously convecting and well mixed, some seismic, geomagnetic and geodynamic evidence suggests that a global stably stratified layer exists at the top of Earth’s core. Such a layer would strongly influence thermal, chemical and momentum exchange across the core–mantle boundary and thus have important implications for the dynamics and evolution of the core. Here we argue that the relevant scenario is not global stratification, but rather regional stratification arising solely from the lateral variations in heat flux at the core–mantle boundary. Using our extensive suite of numerical simulations of the dynamics of the fluid core with heterogeneous core–mantle boundary heat flux, we predict that thermal regional inversion layers extend hundreds of kilometres into the core under anomalously hot regions of the lowermost mantle. Although the majority of the outermost core remains actively convecting, sufficiently large and strong regional inversion layers produce a one-dimensional temperature profile that mimics a globally stratified layer below the core–mantle boundary—an apparent thermal stratification despite the average heat flux across the core–mantle boundary being strongly superadiabatic

    Experimental study of libration-driven zonal flows in non-axisymmetric containers

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    International audienceOrbital dynamics that lead to longitudinal libration of celestial bodies also result in an elliptically deformed equatorial core-mantle boundary. The non-axisymmetry of the boundary leads to a topographic coupling between the assumed rigidmantle and the underlying low viscosity fluid.The present experimental study investigates theeffect of non axisymmetric boundaries on the zonal flow driven by longitudinal libration. For large enough equatorial ellipticity, we report intermittent space-filling turbulence in particular bands of resonant frequency correlated with larger amplitude zonal flow. The mechanism underlying the intermittent turbulence has yet to be unambiguously determined. Nevertheless, recent numerical simulations in triaxial and biaxial ellipsoids suggest that it may be associated with the growth and collapse of an elliptical instability (Cebron et al., 2012). Outside of the band of resonance, we find that the background flow is laminar and the zonal flow becomes independent of the geometry at first order, in agreement with a non linear mechanism in the Ekman boundary layer (e.g. Calkins et al.; 2010, Sauret and Le Dizes, 2012b)

    Génération d'ondes gravito-inertielles par la turbulence

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    Dans de nombreuses situations géophysiques et astrophysiques, une couche de fluide turbulent se situe au dessus ou en-dessous d'une zone stratifiée stable. C'est par exemple le cas des zones convective et radiative des étoiles. Alors que cette zone stratifiée a longtemps été assimilée à une zone immobile, il s'avère qu'elle est en fait le siège de mouvements oscillatoires (ondes gravito- inertielles) excités par la turbulence voisine. Ces ondes sont susceptibles de transporter de la quantité de mouvement et de l'énergie, donc d'influer significativement sur la dynamique du système considéré. Il est donc primordial de comprendre leur génération et leurs caractéristiques
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