Wave-vortex decomposition of one-dimensional ship-track data

Oliver Buhler, Jörn Callies, Raffaele Ferrari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We present a simple two-step method by which one-dimensional spectra of horizontal velocity and buoyancy measured along a ship track can be decomposed into a wave component consisting of inertia-gravity waves and a vortex component consisting of a horizontal flow in geostrophic balance. The method requires certain assumptions for the data regarding stationarity, homogeneity, and horizontal isotropy. In the first step an exact Helmholtz decomposition of the horizontal velocity spectra into rotational and divergent components is performed and in the second step an energy equipartition property of hydrostatic inertia-gravity waves is exploited that allows a diagnosis of the wave energy spectrum solely from the observed horizontal velocities. The observed buoyancy spectrum can then be used to compute the residual vortex energy spectrum. Further wave-vortex decompositions of the observed fields are possible if additional information about the frequency content of the waves is available. We illustrate the method on two recent oceanic data sets from the North Pacific and the Gulf Stream. Notably, both steps in our new method might be of broader use in the theoretical and observational study of atmosphere and ocean fluid dynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1007-1026
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Volume756
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 10 2014

Fingerprint

ships
Ships
Vortex flow
vortices
Decomposition
decomposition
Gravity waves
gravity waves
Buoyancy
buoyancy
inertia
energy spectra
Gulf Stream
equipartition theorem
isotropy
rotational spectra
fluid dynamics
Fluid dynamics
hydrostatics
homogeneity

Keywords

  • internal waves
  • ocean processes
  • quasi-geostrophic flows

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics

Cite this

Wave-vortex decomposition of one-dimensional ship-track data. / Buhler, Oliver; Callies, Jörn; Ferrari, Raffaele.

In: Journal of Fluid Mechanics, Vol. 756, 10.10.2014, p. 1007-1026.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Buhler, Oliver ; Callies, Jörn ; Ferrari, Raffaele. / Wave-vortex decomposition of one-dimensional ship-track data. In: Journal of Fluid Mechanics. 2014 ; Vol. 756. pp. 1007-1026.
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