Layering and vertical transport in sheared double-diffusive convection in the diffusive regime

Yantao Yang*, Roberto Verzicco, Detlef Lohse, C. P. Caulfield

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
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A sequence of two- and three-dimensional simulations are conducted for the double-diffusive convection (DDC) flows in the diffusive regime subjected to an imposed shear. For a wide range of control parameters, and for sufficiently strong perturbation of the conductive initial state, staircase-like structures spontaneously develop, with relatively well-mixed layers separated by sharp interfaces of enhanced scalar gradient. Such staircases appear to be robust even in the presence of strong shear over very long times, with early-time coarsening of the observed layers. For the same set of control parameters, different asymptotic layered states, with markedly different vertical scalar fluxes, can arise for different initial perturbation structures. The imposed shear significantly spatio-temporally modifies the vertical transport of the various scalars. The flux ratio (i.e. the ratio between the density fluxes due to the total salt flux and the total heat flux) is found, at steady state, to be essentially equal to the square root of the ratio of the salt diffusivity to the thermal diffusivity, consistent with the physical model proposed by Linden & Shirtcliffe (J. Fluid Mech., vol. 87, 1978, pp. 417-432) and the variational arguments presented by Stern (J. Fluid Mech., vol. 114, 1982, pp. 105-121) for unsheared double-diffusive convection.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA30
JournalJournal of fluid mechanics
Publication statusPublished - 25 Feb 2022


  • double diffusive convection
  • stratified turbulence
  • turbulence simulation


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