The fluxes and behaviour of plumes inferred from measurements of coherent structures within images of the bulk flow

Burridge, Henry Charles ; Partridge, JL ; Linden, Paul Frederick (2016-06-01)


This paper describes how measurements of the movement of identifiable features at the edge of a turbulent plume can be interpreted to determine the properties of the mean flow and consequently, using plume theory, can be used to make estimates of the fluxes of volume (mass), momentum and buoyancy in a plume. This means that video recordings of smoke rising from a chimney or buoyant material from a source on the sea bed can be used to make accurate estimates of the source conditions for the plume. At best we can estimate the volume flux and buoyancy flux to within about 5% and 15% of the actual values, respectively. Although this is restricted to the case of a plume rising in a stationary and unstratified environment, we show that the results may be of practical use in other more complex situations. In addition, we demonstrate that large scale (turbulent) coherent structures at the plume edge form on a scale approximately 40% of the local (mean) plume half-width and travel at almost 60% of the average local (mean) velocity in the plume.