Journal of Fluid Mechanics


Thermal convection in a rotating cylindrical annulus and its mean zonal flows

J. TAO a1a2 and F. H. BUSSE a1
a1 Institute of Physics, University of Bayreuth, Bayreuth 95440, Germany
a2 LTCS and Department of Mechanics and Engineering Science, Peking University, Beijing 100871, P.R. China

Article author query
tao j   [Google Scholar] 
busse fh   [Google Scholar] 


Thermal convection driven by centrifugal buoyancy in a rapidly rotating narrow annular channel is studied in the case of rigid cylindrical walls. The pattern of high-wavenumber thermal Rossby waves becomes increasingly modulated and finally chaotic as the Rayleigh number is increased. Retrograde as well as prograde mean zonal flows are found. The prograde mean flow dominates in fluids with large Prandtl number, while retrograde mean flows are more typical for small Prandtl numbers. Although the basic thermal Rossby waves travel in the prograde direction when the height of the annulus decreases with distance from the axis, their long-wavelength modulations often propagate in the retrograde direction.

(Published Online March 29 2006)
(Received July 14 2005)
(Revised December 20 2005)