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What is the turbulent drag force experienced by an object moving in a rotating fluid? This open and fundamental question can be addressed by measuring the torque needed to drive an impeller at a constant angular velocity
in a water tank mounted on a platform rotating at a rate
. We report a dramatic reduction in drag as
increases, down to values as low as 12 % of the non-rotating drag. At small Rossby number
, the decrease in the drag coefficient
follows the approximate scaling law
, which is predicted in the framework of nonlinear inertial-wave interactions and weak-turbulence theory. However, stereoscopic particle image velocimetry measurements indicate that this drag reduction instead originates from a weakening of the turbulence intensity in line with the two-dimensionalization of the large-scale flow.
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