Complex environmental β-plane turbulence: laboratory experiments with altimetric imaging velocimetry
Abstract. Results from the spectral analyses of the flows in two experiments where turbulent flows were generated in a rotating tank with a topographic β-effect are presented. The flows were forced either by heating water from below or supplying fresh water at the top of a saline layer. The flow was essentially barotropic in the first experiment and baroclinic in the second experiment. The gradient of the surface elevation was measured using optical altimetry (altimetric imaging velocimetry). Multiple zonal jets of alternating direction were observed in both experiments. Turbulent cascades of energy exhibit certain universal properties in spite of the different natures of flows in the experiments.