Effects of Rotation on Vorticity Dynamics on a Sphere with Discrete Exterior Calculus

Pankaj Jagad, Ravi Samtaney

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6 Scopus citations


We investigate incompressible, inviscid vorticity dynamics on a rotating unit sphere using a Discrete Exterior Calculus (DEC) scheme. For a prescribed initial vorticity distribution, we vary the rate of rotation of the sphere from zero (non-rotating case, which corresponds to infinite Rossby number (Ro)) to 320 (which corresponds to Ro = $1.30 \times 10^{-3}$), and investigate the evolution with time of the vorticity field. For the non-rotating case, the vortices evolve into thin filaments due to so-called forward/direct enstrophy cascade. At late times an oscillating quadrupolar vortical field emerges as a result of the inverse energy cascade. Rotation diminishes the forward cascade of enstrophy (and hence the inverse cascade of energy) and tend to align the vortical structures in the azimuthal/zonal direction. Our investigation reveals that, for the initial vorticity field comprising of intermediate-wavenumber spherical harmonics, the zonalization of the vortical structures is not monotonic with ever decreasing Rossby numbers and the structures revert back to a non-zonal state below a certain Rossby number. On the other hand, for the initial vorticity field comprising of intermediate to large-wavenumber spherical harmonics, the zonalization is monotonic with decreasing Rossby number. Although, rotation diminishes the forward cascade of enstrophy, it does not completely cease/arrest the cascade.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107117
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number10
StatePublished - Aug 21 2021

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2021-10-27
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): URF/1/3723-01-01
Acknowledgements: This research was supported by the KAUST Office of Sponsored Research under Award URF/1/3723-01-01.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics


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