Laboratory modelling of atmospheric dynamical processes
J. Sommeria and H. Didelle
CNRS-LEGI/Coriolis, 21 avenue des Martyrs, 38000 Grenoble, France
Published online: 25 February 2009
We discuss how atmospheric or oceanic flow processes can be reproduced at laboratory scale. The similarity conditions for the effects of density stratification and Earth rotation are first presented. It is argued that a large size is required to reproduce multi-scale turbulence with minimal viscous effects. Examples of results obtained on the large ‘Coriolis’ platform in Grenoble, 13 m in diameter, are described. The development of the baroclinic instability, the main source of perturbations in the mid-latitude atmosphere, is first presented. The second example is the driving of alternating azimuthal jets by small scale convective eddies, relevant for the zonal bands in the Giant planet atmosphere. Finally examples of topographic wakes in a stratiffed fluid and gravity currents are presented. It is argued that physical modelling must be used in close relationship with theory and numerical modelling, using advanced measurement and data assimilation techniques.
© EDP Sciences, 2009