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Y. D. Afanasyev and J. Wells
Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, Canada

Two-dimensional turbulence can be modified significantly when the Coriolis parameter varies with latitude such as that on the rotating Earth. The vortices that comprise the turbulent flow are found to distribute themselves in such a way that they form zonal jets. Such zonal jets have been observed in many geophysical systems and are a common feature in the atmospheres of Jupiter, Saturn and the Earth. This picture shows vorticity (color) and velocity (arrows) fields measured during a laboratory experiment on quasi-two-dimensional turbulence on a polar beta-plane. A well-defined polar vortex can be clearly seen in the center of the picture surrounded by an intense cyclonic jet that is subject to Rossby waves.


Afanasyev, Y. D. and Wells, J., "Quasi-two-dimensional turbulence on the polar beta-plane: laboratory experiments", Geophys. Astrophys. Fluid Dynamics, 99 (1), 1-17 (2005).

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