Operational Systems
Glider Micros 680px

A glider before diving. -Image: HZG-

Small-scale Physics and Turbulence

There are a vast range of scales of motion that are present in the ocean -- from the large-scale oceanic gyres that fill the ocean basins, to the millimetre sized eddies in a turbulent tidal pool. It is this range of scales that presents the greatest difficulties in both observing and modelling ocean dynamics.

These difficulties are a major scientific obstacle facing society today, since in recent years intensive resources are being devoted to understanding the processes shaping our weather and climate.

The newly formed "Small-scale Physics and Turbulence" group works to understand ocean circulation, mixing, and processes that transport important quantities such as heat, salt, oxygen and nutrients, through a study of the smallest turbulent scales of motion.

We use robotic ocean gliders for direct field measurement, high performance computer clusters for conducting numerical simulations, as well as construct theoretical models -- all to help understand and model turbulent processes in the oceans. Current, and ongoing, fields of investigation include:

  • North Sea coastal turbulence
  • Ocean impacts of offshore wind farms
  • Turbulent transport of heat in the Arctic Ocean
  • Atmosphere-ocean wave coupling and energy transfers
  • Submesoscale energy transfers in the surface mixed layer