Large-eddy simulation (LES) has proven to be a valuable tool for high-fidelity modeling of environmental and geophysical turbulent flows. An important application of LES is to study the transport of effluents (e.g. oils from a subsea blowout) in the ocean mixed layer (OML). Oil plumes being transported in the OML experience the action of shear-generated turbulence, Langmuir circulations, Ekman transport and submesoscale quasi-geostrophic eddies. To resolve such turbulent processes, grid sizes of a few meters are desirable while horizontal domain sizes of LES are typically restricted from hundreds of meters to a few kilometers, for LES to remain practically affordable. Yet transported oil plumes evolve to large scales extending to tens or even hundreds of kilometers. In this study, the Extended Nonperiodic Domain LES for Scalar transport (ENDLESS) is proposed as a multi-scale approach to tackle this challenge while being computationally affordable. The basic idea is to simulate the shear turbulence and Langmuir circulations on a small horizontal domain with periodic boundary conditions while the resulting transport velocity field is replicated periodically following adaptively the large-scale plume as it evolves spatially towards much larger scales. This approach also permits the superposition of larger-scale quasi two-dimensional flow motions on the oil advection, allowing for coupling with regional circulation models. A validation case and two sample applications to oil plume evolution in the OML are presented in order to demonstrate key features and computational speedup associated with the ENDLESS method.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Computer Science (miscellaneous)
- Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
- Atmospheric Science