Inertial waves in a laboratory model of the Earth's core
Triana, Santiago Andres
Lathrop, Daniel P
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A water-filled three-meter diameter spherical shell built as a model of the Earth's core shows evidence of precessionally forced flows and, when spinning the inner sphere differentially, inertial modes are excited. We identified the precessionally forced flow to be primarily the spin-over inertial mode, i.e., a uniform vorticity flow whose rotation axis is not aligned with the container's rotation axis. A systematic study of the spin-over mode is carried out, showing that the amplitude dependence on the Poincaré number is in qualitative agreement with Busse's laminar theory while its phase differs significantly, likely due to topographic effects. At high rotation rates free shear layers concentrating most of the kinetic energy of the spin-over mode have been observed. When spinning the inner sphere differentially, a total of 12 inertial modes have been identified, reproducing and extending previous experimental results. The inertial modes excited appear ordered according to their azimuthal drift speed as the Rossby number is varied.