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A modified Ekman layer model

DOI: 10.3176/earth.2011.2.06

Keywords: Ekman layer , turbulence , modelling.

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Abstract:

A modification of the Ekman layer that is able to systematically account for the effects of curvature of the velocity fluctuation streamlines is developed, using the description of turbulent motions. These effects are accounted for through the average vector product of the velocity fluctuations and the local curvature vector of their streamlines at each flow field point. It is shown that this approach enables quantifying the impact of several phenomena (such as the Stokes drift or the incessant generation of vortices with a prevailing orientation of rotation, intrinsic to surface-driven geophysical flows) on the formation of the Ekman layer. The outcome of the suggested modification is compared with the relevant data measured in the Drake Passage.

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