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Journal Articles Geophysical and Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics Year : 2015

Vortex merger in surface quasi-geostrophy


The merger of two identical surface temperature vortices is studied in the surface quasi-geostrophic model. The motivation for this study is the observation of the merger of submesoscale vortices in the ocean. Firstly, the interaction between two point vortices, in the absence or in the presence of an external deformation field, is investigated. The rotation rate of the vortices, their stationary positions and the stability of these positions are determined. Then, a numerical model provides the steady states of two finite-area, constant-temperature, vortices. Such states are less deformed than their counterparts in two-dimensional incompressible flows. Finally, numerical simulations of the nonlinear surface quasi-geostrophic equations are used to investigate the finite-time evolution of initially identical and symmetric, constant temperature vortices. The critical merger distance is obtained and the deformation of the vortices before or after merger is determined. The addition of external deformation is shown to favor or to oppose merger depending on the orientation of the vortex pair with respect to the strain axes. An explanation for this observation is proposed. Conclusions are drawn towards an application of this study to oceanic vortices.
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insu-01351953 , version 1 (10-03-2021)



Xavier J. Carton, Daniele Ciani, Jacques Verron, D Reinaud, Mikhail Sokolovskiy. Vortex merger in surface quasi-geostrophy. Geophysical and Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics, 2015, 110 (1), pp.1 - 22. ⟨10.1080/03091929.2015.1120865⟩. ⟨insu-01351953⟩
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