Laboratoire des Écoulements Géophysiques et Industriels

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Accueil > Grands équipements > La plateforme tournante Coriolis > Projets de recherche

2019-TUBE : The turbulent life of downslope oceanic dense currents

Understanding Earth’s climate dynamics is one of today’s greatest challenges. It depends on our understanding of the ocean dynamics over a large variety of interacting scales in time and space. Downslope currents induced by density differences represent one of the key submesoscale processes that lead to energy transfers to larger/smaller scales, impact the thermohaline structure and the vertical exchange of water masses in the ocean, and play a crucial role for the overall ocean circulation and climate.

Diagram of the installation
Diagram of the installation

The aim of this project is to study the submesoscale turbulence (km scale) generation induced at boundary layers of rotating downslope currents, its advection to the interior ocean and the resulting interaction and evolution between the different scales.

Laboratory experiments on the Coriolis platform are performed using an axysimmetric conical slope descending toward the center of the tank and injecting salt solutions from 32 injectors equispaced on the outer edge of the tank at a given flow rate within a discrete or continuously stratified ambient fluid. Measurements are based on PIV and Fluorescent dye visualizations to capture the velocity and scalar fields, respectively, that are performed in the full basin domain. An Acoustic doppler Profiler is used to measure the three velocity components on a along slope section in order to resolve the boundary layers produced by the rotating gravity current.

The detailed measurements and simulations are expected to deliver the necessary data to improve present representation of downslope currents in circulation and climate models and to validate non-hydrostatic codes (CROCO).

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