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EPSSI seminar: Dr. Scott Wunsch, Johns Hopkins University, Applied Physics Laboratory

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Monday, September 18, 2017, 4:05 pm– 4:55 pm

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A novel single column turbulence model for geophysical fluid dynamics

Computer simulation of geophysical fluids (Earth’s oceans, air, and mantle) is a critical tool for the study of our environment, from the dispersion of hazardous materials to long-term climate change.  Unfortunately, today’s computational resources are not sufficient to fully resolve all relevant physics on geophysical scales.  To address this shortcoming, numerous models have been developed to represent unresolved processes.  One of the most challenging phenomena to represent is small-scale turbulence.   

A novel approach to turbulence modeling, known as One-Dimensional Turbulence (ODT), will be presented.  In this single-column model, turbulent advection is represented with a mapping function, preserving the mathematical distinction between advection and diffusion which is lost in standard models.  The restriction to one dimension makes it possible to resolve small-scale mixing and turbulence.  The physical principles underlying ODT will be summarized, and application of the model to several relevant problems will be briefly presented:  thermal convection, cloud-top entrainment, and layer formation in stably stratified turbulence. 

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