Boundary Zonal Flow in Rotating Turbulent Rayleigh-Bénard Convection

Xuan Zhang, Dennis P. M. van Gils, Susanne Horn, Marcel Wedi, Lukas Zwirner, Guenter Ahlers, Robert E. Ecke, Stephan Weiss, Eberhard Bodenschatz, Olga Shishkina

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33 Citations (Scopus)
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For rapidly rotating turbulent Rayleigh–Bénard convection in a slender cylindrical cell, experiments and direct numerical simulations reveal a boundary zonal flow (BZF) that replaces the classical large-scale circulation. The BZF is located near the vertical side wall and enables enhanced heat transport there. Although the azimuthal velocity of the BZF is cyclonic (in the rotating frame), the temperature is an anticyclonic traveling wave of mode one, whose signature is a bimodal temperature distribution near the radial boundary. The BZF width is found to scale like Ra1/4Ek2/3 where the Ekman number Ek decreases with increasing rotation rate.
Original languageEnglish
Article number084505
Number of pages6
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 27 Feb 2020

Bibliographical note

Published by the American Physical Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license. Further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the published article’s title, journal citation, and DOI. Open access publication funded by the Max Planck Society.


Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) through the Collaborative Research Centre Grant No. SFB 963 "Astrophysical Flow Instabilities and Turbulence" and research Grants No. Sh405/4-1, No. Sh405/4-2, No. Sh405/8-1, No. Ho5890/1-1, and No. We5011/3-1, from the LDRD program at Los Alamos National Laboratory and by the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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