Universal Spectrum of Two-dimensional Turbulence On Rotating Sphere and Basic Features of Atmospheric Circulations On Giant Planets

B. Galperin, S. Sukoriansky, N. Dikovskaya

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review

Abstract

The Kolmogorov-Batchelor-Kraichnan (KBK) theory for isotropic homogeneous two- dimensional (2D) turbulence in the energy range is extended to small-scale forced 2D turbulence on the surface of a rotating sphere. The energy spectrum in such flows develops considerable anisotropy. The classical KBK scaling, E(n) propto epsilon(2/3}n({-5/3)) , is preserved for all but zonal directions in the spectral space, while in the zonal direction, a steep spectrum E_Z(n) = C_Z (Omega/R)(2) n(-5) had emerged [here, epsilon is the rate of energy injection at small scales, Omega and R are the angular velocity and radius of the sphere, respectively, n is the meridional wave number in spherical geometry, and C_Z is O(1) constant]. Numer- ical simulations demonstrate that this flow regime can be established in steady state due to the action of a linear large scale drag. We argue that the conditions favorable for the developing of this flow regime are typical of the atmospheric circulation on all four giant planets of our Solar system and show that indeed, the same steep spectra emerge from their observed zonal velocity profiles. The results are used to explain some basic characteristics of the large-scale circulations on the giant planets. All numerical and observational data support the value of C_Z simeq 0.5 indicating that C_Z is a universal constant in the n(-5) zonal spectrum.
Original languageEnglish GB
Pages1118
StatePublished - 2002

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