Oceanic Convection

The animations available below were made from model simulations using a Large Eddy Simulation (LES) model of the ocean.

Subpolar Sea Convection

This simulation (301K) of subpolar sea free convection in a 3.6-km cube is driven by surface cooling of 200 watts/m/m. The movie consists of 20 frames at a time interval of 100 seconds. Blue is an isosurface of temperature that is .005C cooler than the mean. Green represents areas of downward vertical velocity exceeding 10 cm/sec. The magenta surfaces are high dissipation zones, usually associated with high shear.

Mediterranean Sea Convection

Click here to descend 2000 meters through the X-Y temperature field, viewing the horizontal cells of ocean mixed-layer convection as you go. (199K) The horizontal scales are 3200 m by 3200 m. Red is warm (12.85C) rising water, and blue is cooler (12.83C) sinking water.

Sail in a submarine (216K) through vertical plumes of ocean mixed-layer convection in the fluctuating X-Z temperature field in the Golfe du Lyon in late winter. Vertical scale is 2000 m, and the horizontal scale is 3200 m. Red is warm (12.80 C), and blue is cold (12.78 C).

More information on the OPBL Laboratory is available here.

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Last reviewed: February, 2003