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A laboratory experiment and numerical simulation of an isolated barotropic eddy in a basin with topographic β

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 April 2006

Akira Masuda
Ocean Research Institute, University of Tokyo, Tokyo 164, Japan
Kenji Marubayashi
Research Institute for Applied Mechanics, Kyushu University, Kasuga 816, Japan
Michiyoshi Ishibashi
Research Institute for Applied Mechanics, Kyushu University, Kasuga 816, Japan


An initial localized eddy was generated in a rotating tank by a source–sink method to study the behaviour of an isolated barotropic eddy on a β-plane. The evolution of the eddy was compared with the laboratory experiments by Firing & Beardsley (1976) and by Takematsu & Kita (1985, 1988), confirming the northwestward (southwestward) translation of a cyclonic (anticyclonic) isolated eddy due to nonlinear effects. Anticyclonic eddies were contrasted with cyclonic eddies in the tank experiment, showing a cyclonic–anticyclonic asymmetry due to the topographic β as a substitute for the planetary β. The fluid experiment was simulated well by numerical simulation based on the quasi-geostrophic vorticity equation. Numerical experiments verified the northwestward (southwestward) translation both for an initially Gaussian and initially Rankine-type isolated cyclonic (anticyclonic) eddy.

Research Article
© 1990 Cambridge University Press

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