The Gulf of Eilat/Aqaba: a natural driven cavity?

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Motivated by our puzzling high-resolution radar observations of surface vortices in the nearly rectangular Gulf of Eilat/Aqaba, northern Red Sea, we propose and explore the driven cavity approach to this geophysical phenomenon. While the lid-driven cavity has long been considered a benchmark problem in computational fluid dynamics, its oceanographic context has not been considered. Despite the additional effects of rotation and stratification, our modeling demonstrates that when the fluid within a cavity geometrically similar to the Gulf of Eilat is driven by the external current, an interior vortex can develop as in our observations. Furthermore, the Eilat vortices appear only under relatively calm conditions, adding evidence to the intriguing possibility of their simple shear-driven origin.

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Publisher's version of record: https://doi.org/10.1080/03091921003712842

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Geophysical & Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics