Mixing in stratified gravity currents: Prandtl mixing length

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Authors
Odier, Philippe
Chen, Jun
Rivera, Michael K.
Ecke, Robert E.
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Abstract
Description
Shear-induced vertical mixing in a stratified flow is a key ingredient of thermohaline circulation. We experimentally determine the vertical flux of momentum and density of a forced gravity current using high-resolution velocity and density measurements. A constant eddy viscosity model provides a poor description of the physics of mixing, but a Prandtl mixing length model relating momentum and density fluxes to mean velocity and density gradients works well. For $<Ri_g > \approx 0.08$ and $Re_\lambda \approx 100$, the mixing lengths are fairly constant, about the same magnitude, comparable to the turbulent shear length.
Comment: 4 pages, 4 figures, accepted in PRL, February 2009
Keywords
Physics - Fluid Dynamics, Physics - Atmospheric and Oceanic Physics
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