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Making Sense of Complex Geophysical Flows

Hussein Aluie, Assistant Professor

Friday, October 17, 2014
1:30 p.m.
Hopeman 224

Large-scale currents and eddies pervade the ocean and play a prime role in the general circulation and climate. The coupling between scales ranging from $O(10^4)$ km down to $O(1)$ mm presents a major difficulty in understanding, modeling, and predicting oceanic circulation and mixing, where the energy budget is uncertain within a factor possibly as large as ten. Identifying the energy sources and sinks at various scales can reduce such uncertainty and yield insight into new parameterizations. To this end, we refine a novel coarse-graining framework to directly analyze the coupling between scales. The approach is very general, allows for probing the dynamics simultaneously in scale and in space, and is not restricted by usual assumptions of homogeneity or isotropy. We apply these tools to study the energy pathways from (i) high-resolution ocean simulations using LANL’s Parallel Ocean Program, (ii) idealized 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional simulations, (iii) and experimental data from 2-dimensional laboratory flows. I will present some of our key findings, discuss ongoing efforts, and outline future work we hope to undertake