The geostrophic regime of rapidly rotating turbulent convection

Rudie P.J. Kunnen (Corresponding author)

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Rotating Rayleigh-Bénard convection is a simple model system used to study the
interplay of buoyant forcing and rotation. Many recent studies have focused on the
geostrophic regime of turbulent rotating convection where the principal balance of
forces is between the Coriolis force and the pressure gradient. This regime is believed to be representative of conditions in geophysical and astrophysical flows. We hope to be able to extrapolate findings from laboratory experiments and numerical simulations towards these large-scale natural flows. In this paper I sketch the phase diagram of the geostrophic regime of rotating convection, put experimental and numerical studies in their place in these diagrams and discuss the partitioning into subranges characterized by different flow structures and heat transfer scaling. I also discuss some complications faced by experimentalists, such as constraints on the dimensions of the convection cell, wall modes near the sidewall and centrifugal buoyancy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-296
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Turbulence
Issue number4-5
Early online date26 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Turbulent rotating convection
  • direct numerical simulations
  • flow structures
  • inverse energy cascade
  • laboratory experiments


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