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On the formation of pancake eddies in stratified turbulence

Andrea Maffioli (Fluid mechanics)


The study of turbulence in a fluid with a stable density gradient is important for its applications in meteorology and oceanography, which are instrumental to real-world problems such as the dispersion of pollutants and volcanic ash in the atmosphere. Such turbulence, known as stably stratified turbulence, is highly anisotropic, with the presence of flat “pancake eddies”. We are interested in the formation process of the pancake eddies, and results are presented from experiments and numerical simulations which are compared against a simple model of pancake formation through mixing. Finally, a number of recent theories are tested by comparing their predictions to our simulations of decaying stratified turbulence.