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Rigorous bounds on mixing in stratified shear flows: A route to improved parameterisations


Understanding the fluid dynamics of the atmosphere and ocean is critical to ensuring sustainable human activity. Specifically, understanding and parameterizing the response of the earth's oceans to thermal forcing is essential for the quality of long-term predictions of global climate change. One component of the oceanic response to thermal forcing is the small-scale irreversible mixing of fluid of different densities driven by vertical variations of velocity, i.e. within stratified shear flows. This project proposes to support the research of Dr Caulfield on this problem, through partially funding a Ph. D. student.

This support will facilitate the rapid and permanent reintegration of Dr Caulfield into the European Research Area, and access Dr Caulfield's international network of research collaborators and experience. During this project, Dr Caulfield's research will improve existing parameterisations of stratified mixing by developing rigorous bounds on the amount of mixing which is possible within various stratified shear flows due to turbulent motions, using recently developed mathematical and computational methods. These methods are based around solving an appropriately formulated variational problem subject to physically reasonable constraints.

They will then compare these predictions to the results of direct numerical simulations both to investigate the quality of the theoretical results, and also to suggest further constraints evident within the simulations, which could be applied to the theoretical problem. They will then use these results, through consultation with a multi-disciplinary international group of scientists, to construct improved parameterisations of shear induced stratified mixing for use in larger scale models.

Field of science

  • /engineering and technology/environmental engineering/energy and fuels/energy conversion
  • /natural sciences/physical sciences/classical mechanics/fluid mechanics/fluid dynamics

Call for proposal

See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

IRG - Marie Curie actions-International re-integration grants


The Old Schools, Trinity Lane
United Kingdom