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Dissipation et mélange en turbulence stratifiée : une approche expérimentale

Abstract : Our climate partly depends on energy exchange between warm and cold water masses in the ocean's interior. In order to understand and forecast the climate variations, numerical models of the ocean must estimate the amount of energy converted into irreversible mixing in turbulent stably stratified flows. It seems that this quantity depends on the flow parameters. This assertion challenges the famous Osborn model for turbulent diffusivity kz which uses a fixed mixing efficiency of ŋ=0.17. This motivated us to measure separately kz and ŋ in order to obtain a better understanding of their inter-dependencies. The present work is an experimental study based on set-ups which enable to quantify the mixing in different types of flow. Three of those experiments are held in our lab (LMFA) and consist respectively in a lock-exchange experiment where mixing is generated by the shear at the interface of two opposite gravity currents, a stratified towed grid experiment, and a hydraulic channel experiment where the stratification is injected directly by the grid. This study has been complemented with two international collaborations. The first one, on the Coriolis platform (LEGI) consisted in a stratified towed grid experiment in a rotating tank allowing to broaden our parameter spectrum. The second one is a series of in situ measurements led in collaboration with ISMER in the Saguenay fjord (Canada) aiming at measuring density transects over time in order to quantify the turbulent mixing that participates in the renewal of the fjord's deep water. In all of those configurations, dependencies of mixing efficiency and turbulent diffusivity along with the Froude and the Reynolds numbers are extracted from the time evolution of density profiles. In our results, we were able to quantify the decay of the mixing efficiency with the increase of the Froude number. We also highlighted the sensitivity of turbulent diffusivity on the buoyancy Reynolds number. We used three different experimental setups to show that beyond the so called universal turbulence laws, the flow geometry has a huge impact on the mixing efficiency values. This is especially true in the lock-exchange configuration where the asymptotic value of ŋ=0.25, predicted by statistical physics, can only be reached in a set-up which allows 3D flows. Such investigations are still scarce in the literature. Finally, all the data analysis methods developed for the lab experiments were of great help for the analysis of in situ data and thereby enabled us to consider a real-life environnemental flow.
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Diane Micard. Dissipation et mélange en turbulence stratifiée : une approche expérimentale. Autre. Université de Lyon, 2018. Français. ⟨NNT : 2018LYSEC041⟩. ⟨tel-02612224⟩

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