Research objectives and content
This project concerns an unsolved problem that is fundamental to understanding the thin turbulent layers that occur in the stratosphere and in the ocean thermocline, and which play a key role in the vertical mixing of pollutants and other chemical species. For instance, the problem is now thought to be important for an adequate understanding of the fate of chemicals emitted into the stratosphere from aircraft engines, with as yet unquantified consequences for stratospheric ozone depletion and climate change. The fluid regions in question contain both vortical motions and breaking internal inertia-gravity waves, which are coupled together through the wave breaking and other nonlinear mechanisms. A prerequisite to studying situations like these is a knowledge of how to define and distinguish the vortical and wavelike parts of the motion from each other. So far this problem has been addressed only on the basis of
linear-theoretic decompositions that are certainly inadequate as descriptions of reality. A recent breakthrough at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theorectical Physics, University of Cambridge totally changes our outlook and puts me in a unique position to study these absolutely basic but environmentally important problems. Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)
My training will include three-way experience, in conceptual, mathematical and numerical modelling, in one of the most challenging areas of conceptual thinking that underpins our most fundamental understanding of geophysical fluid dynamics. This is a project of high importance to the recruitment and maintenance of manpower knowledgeable about the real, deepest issues in the environmental sciences, and I am certain will stand me in good stead however my career in the environmental sciences may develop.
Links with industry / industrial relevance (22)
Two relevant links:
i) Closely related projects in the group will be in collaboration with European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts using the same high powered methods as in this project in the improvement of data assimilation and weather forecasts.
ii) Close links with similar research at the British Meteorological Office have already been established.