S161 Oceanic Profile Variations After Cyclonic Activity

Sunday, 22 January 2017
4E (Washington State Convention Center )
Olivia Rae Ostwald, RSMAS, MIAMI, FL

Our knowledge on air-sea interactions is growing and there is much to still be discovered. When a cyclone passes over water, it causes mixing within the layers of the ocean. My research focuses on how these layers mix and how cooler water is mixed above warmer, fresher water. Cooler waters at the surface usually warm within weeks of mixing. It is when the warmer waters sink that we are trying to follow. I am currently conducting my research at the Alfred C. Glassell Jr. SUSTAIN Lab as RSMAS. The SUSTAIN Lab is a surge structure atmospheric interaction facility. We have a air-water tank that is approximately 25m long, 18m working length, 6m wide, and 2m high. There is a 1760 horsepower engine powering a fan that can create up to category 5 winds along with 12 wave paddles. I am going to simulate cyclonic activity using the fan while filling the tank with 60cm of water. I will recreate the layers of the ocean with warm, fresh water at a thinner layer with cooler, salty water below. I am going to examine how these layers mix together while increasing wind speed. I have begun trials on a scaled model of the tank where short term surface layer mixing occurred. As the duration of the winds increased, mid-layer mixing became present. I am going to use dye to create a more illustrative contrast in the warm, fresh water and colder, salt water. I will also experiment with the wave paddles and how that will influence layer mixing, in which I expect it to be much stronger resulting in a more uniform surface layer extending deeper.
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