Three-dimensionality of shallow island wakes

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Abstract

Island wakes are thought to play a significant role in the vertical and cross-shelf mixing processes in strong tidally forced coastal regions. This paper describes a comprehensive laboratory study of shallow water wakes behind islands of circular cross section forced by a sinusoidal tidal flow. The wake structure and vertical circulation are determined through novel three-dimensional particle imaging velocimetry measurements. Four archetypal wake forms (symmetric, asymmetric, unsteady bubble, and vortex shedding) are observed. Through examination of the vertical structure of each of these wake forms, we demonstrate the dependence of vertical transport in island wakes on three key parameters: (1) the tidal excursion relative to the island size, (2) the bottom boundary layer thickness relative to the flow depth and (3) the aspect ratio of the island size to the flow depth. The importance of secondary vortices in island upwelling is highlighted by local peaks in vertical velocity that exceed 40% of the peak external tidal velocity. This study fundamentally changes the view of island wake upwelling from a weak ‘tea cup’-like recirculation process to one where primary and secondary flow structures vigorously stir the water column over the full depth. This has fundamental implications for the fate of passive biological tracers and the time scales that determine productivity in topographically-complex continental shelf regions.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages24
JournalEnvironmental Fluid Mechanics
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Feb 2019

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upwelling
vortex shedding
secondary flow
benthic boundary layer
Water
Vortex shedding
Secondary flow
tea
flow structure
Flow structure
Velocity measurement
vortex
bubble
Aspect ratio
continental shelf
Boundary layers
Vortex flow
shallow water
cross section
water column

Cite this

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title = "Three-dimensionality of shallow island wakes",
abstract = "Island wakes are thought to play a significant role in the vertical and cross-shelf mixing processes in strong tidally forced coastal regions. This paper describes a comprehensive laboratory study of shallow water wakes behind islands of circular cross section forced by a sinusoidal tidal flow. The wake structure and vertical circulation are determined through novel three-dimensional particle imaging velocimetry measurements. Four archetypal wake forms (symmetric, asymmetric, unsteady bubble, and vortex shedding) are observed. Through examination of the vertical structure of each of these wake forms, we demonstrate the dependence of vertical transport in island wakes on three key parameters: (1) the tidal excursion relative to the island size, (2) the bottom boundary layer thickness relative to the flow depth and (3) the aspect ratio of the island size to the flow depth. The importance of secondary vortices in island upwelling is highlighted by local peaks in vertical velocity that exceed 40{\%} of the peak external tidal velocity. This study fundamentally changes the view of island wake upwelling from a weak ‘tea cup’-like recirculation process to one where primary and secondary flow structures vigorously stir the water column over the full depth. This has fundamental implications for the fate of passive biological tracers and the time scales that determine productivity in topographically-complex continental shelf regions.",
keywords = "Island wakes, Three dimensional flow, Tidal forcing, Upwelling, Vorticity",
author = "Branson, {Paul M.} and Marco Ghisalberti and Ivey, {Gregory N.}",
year = "2019",
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doi = "10.1007/s10652-019-09661-5",
language = "English",
journal = "Environmental Fluid Mechanics",
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T1 - Three-dimensionality of shallow island wakes

AU - Branson, Paul M.

AU - Ghisalberti, Marco

AU - Ivey, Gregory N.

PY - 2019/2/4

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N2 - Island wakes are thought to play a significant role in the vertical and cross-shelf mixing processes in strong tidally forced coastal regions. This paper describes a comprehensive laboratory study of shallow water wakes behind islands of circular cross section forced by a sinusoidal tidal flow. The wake structure and vertical circulation are determined through novel three-dimensional particle imaging velocimetry measurements. Four archetypal wake forms (symmetric, asymmetric, unsteady bubble, and vortex shedding) are observed. Through examination of the vertical structure of each of these wake forms, we demonstrate the dependence of vertical transport in island wakes on three key parameters: (1) the tidal excursion relative to the island size, (2) the bottom boundary layer thickness relative to the flow depth and (3) the aspect ratio of the island size to the flow depth. The importance of secondary vortices in island upwelling is highlighted by local peaks in vertical velocity that exceed 40% of the peak external tidal velocity. This study fundamentally changes the view of island wake upwelling from a weak ‘tea cup’-like recirculation process to one where primary and secondary flow structures vigorously stir the water column over the full depth. This has fundamental implications for the fate of passive biological tracers and the time scales that determine productivity in topographically-complex continental shelf regions.

AB - Island wakes are thought to play a significant role in the vertical and cross-shelf mixing processes in strong tidally forced coastal regions. This paper describes a comprehensive laboratory study of shallow water wakes behind islands of circular cross section forced by a sinusoidal tidal flow. The wake structure and vertical circulation are determined through novel three-dimensional particle imaging velocimetry measurements. Four archetypal wake forms (symmetric, asymmetric, unsteady bubble, and vortex shedding) are observed. Through examination of the vertical structure of each of these wake forms, we demonstrate the dependence of vertical transport in island wakes on three key parameters: (1) the tidal excursion relative to the island size, (2) the bottom boundary layer thickness relative to the flow depth and (3) the aspect ratio of the island size to the flow depth. The importance of secondary vortices in island upwelling is highlighted by local peaks in vertical velocity that exceed 40% of the peak external tidal velocity. This study fundamentally changes the view of island wake upwelling from a weak ‘tea cup’-like recirculation process to one where primary and secondary flow structures vigorously stir the water column over the full depth. This has fundamental implications for the fate of passive biological tracers and the time scales that determine productivity in topographically-complex continental shelf regions.

KW - Island wakes

KW - Three dimensional flow

KW - Tidal forcing

KW - Upwelling

KW - Vorticity

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