Stiring and Mixing in Atmosphere and Ocean (ATM 591/OCN 569a)

ATM 591/Ocean 569a


Location: ATG 406 and GFD lab (OSB 107)

Schedule: Tues/Thurs 12.30-1.50

Department: Cross Listed

Quarter: Fall

Stirring and mixing (S&M) are a crucial and often rate-limiting component of atmospheric and ocean circulations: energy, momentum, chemical tracers and ecosystems are all ‘stirred’ by chaotic or systematically sheared winds and currents and then eventually ‘mixed’ by molecular interaction. Mixing affects passive tracers which do not interact with the flow or mixing process, and active fields such as potential temperature/density and potential vorticity (PV) which feed back on the flow field, for example producing concentrated jet streams and boundary currents. Its inherently multiscale character challenges climate models, pollution and carbon models, ecosystem models and dynamical GFD studies, involving a close interplay between resolved-scale flows and subgrid mixing parameterizations. Two and three-dimensional turbulence is almost inevitably involved in stirring and mixing; we will summarize parts of turbulence and boundary layer theory that relate to this subject. The overall class philosophy is to combine lab demonstrations with simple theoretical, observational and model-based analyses, spanning geophysical stirring processes from microscale to global scale.

Link to flyer: