Similarity for the Ice/Ocean Boundary Layer

The concept of similarity is central to nearly all studies of fluid dynamics because it provides a means of reducing a whole class of flows to one set of equations, after nondimensionalizing with carefully chosen scales. By studying one instantiation of the class (say, in a laboratory or wind tunnel setting), results can be applied to other examples, perhaps less amenable to direct measurement. Familiar applications include testing of scale models to evaluate aerodynamic drag or lift. In this chapter, similarity in planetary boundary layers is examined in some detail. Relatively well known concepts (Monin-Obukhov similarity for buoyancy effects in the atmospheric surface layer and Rossby similarity for the drag exerted by the atmosphere on the surface) are described and used to illustrate the similarity between the atmospheric and oceanic boundary layers. We then combine these into a similarity theory for the IOBL stabilized by positive buoyancy flux at the surface (melting). The crucial parameters identified in the exercise, including important turbulence scales, then provide the rationale for development of the local turbulence closure model described in subsequent chapters.


Planetary Boundary Layer Wind Shear Eddy Viscosity Surface Stress Atmospheric Surface Layer 


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