Balanced Vortex: Introduction
The purpose of this project is to study the balance of forces in a vortex using examples from rotating fluid experiments and atmospheric data of hurricane flow.
The experiment involves setting up a fluid vortex, measuring the resulting flow and interpreting measurements in terms of associated theory. The experiment exhibits a number of important principles of rotating fluid dynamics - conservation of angular momentum, geostrophic, gradient wind and cyclostrophic balance. It also provides an ideal context in which to introduce and discuss the Rossby number.
Atmospheric observations of a hurricane are used to identify analogous regions of geostrophic, gradient wind and cyclostrophic flow. The observed regimes are discussed in terms of the Rossby number.