Ocean Dynamics and Circulation
The ocean is an important component of the climate system. In addition to providing a thermodynamic inertia which moderates the climates of maritime regions, the large scale oceanic currents of the deep, slow thermohaline and swift, shallow wind-driven circulations carry warm water poleward and cold dense water equatorward, thus effecting a poleward transport of heat.
The atmosphere is directly affected by conditions at the ocean surface, including the fluxes of momentum, heat and gases at that surface. Turbulent processes, associated with ocean tides for example, are important in bringing nutrients to the surface in coastal regions, and in mixing heat down to the abyss.
AOS researchers are trying to understand these and many other aspects of the circulation and dynamics of the ocean, on small, regional and global scales, using a variety of tools that range from idealized, simplified models, to fine-grid regional and global general circulation models requiring a super-computer.