CEE Seminar: A Quantitative Scaling Theory for Meridional Heat Transport

Nov 15

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Monday, November 15, 2021 – 12:00PM to 1:00PM


Raffaele Ferrari, MIT, Cecil & Ida Green Professor of Oceanography

Developing a theory of climate requires an accurate parameterization of the heat transport induced by the cyclones and anticyclones that characterize the mid-latitude ocean and atmosphere. These weather systems are generated though baroclinic instability of the large scale flows. We will present a scaling theory that quantitatively predicts the meridional heat flux generated through baroclinic turbulence as a function of the large-scale flow characteristics. The theory is then used as a quantitative parameterization in the case of meridionally dependent forcing in the fully turbulent regime. Beyond its relevance for climate theories, our work is an intriguing example of a successful closure for a fully turbulent flow.

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