Environmental Science and Engineering Seminar

Wednesday November 4, 2015 4:00 PM

Ocean turbulence: from micro scale to large scale circulation

Speaker: Ali Mashayek, Department of Earth, Atmosphere and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Location: South Mudd 365

Ocean Meridional Overturning Circulation (MOC) plays a regulatory role in the climate system through redistribution of heat and carbon, among other tracers, around the globe. In particular, the deep and abyssal branches of the MOC play key roles in the global carbon cycle through sequestration of large amounts of carbon in the abyssal ocean.

Understanding the mechanisms driving the MOC requires studying various turbulence processes occurring at scales ranging from millimeters to several thousand kilometers. In this talk, I will provide a brief review of a subset of such processes, namely turbulence induced by breaking of internal gravity waves, boundary layer turbulence, and turbulent mixing induced by ocean eddies. I will then report on progress made on all these three fronts through work I have done with my collaborators, and will discuss how some of our findings have significantly challenged the traditional understanding of ocean circulation. I will finish with a brief discussion of climatic implications of my work.

Series Environmental Science and Engineering Seminar

Contact: Kathy Young at 626-395-8732 katyoung@gps.caltech.edu