Our interest in ocean turbulence is to understand how these motions collectively force the large-scale ocean circulation and impact climate. We do this by developing theoretical models of the large-scale ocean circulation where the effect of turbulence is represented with simple scaling laws. We also run high resolution numerical simulations that try to capture both the mesoscale turbulence and the large-scale flows. (Present computers are not powerful enough to resolve submesoscale and microscope turbulence in climate models and therefore those physics must be parameterized.) Our group has shown that the wind driven circulation in the ocean thermoclines (upper 500 meters) dominate the meridional heat transport, rather than deeper flows. Thus thermocline circulations dominate the ocean impact on climate. We have also shown that large mixing generated by internal waves in the deep ocean sets the stratification and carbon distribution in the deep ocean. We are now exploring the relative importance of deep mixing in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
Now working on this theme: Joern Callies, Ali Mashayek, Madeleine Youngs.
Previously working on this theme: Maxim Nikurashin, Jessica Benthuysen.