Matthew Harris , Applied Mathematics, University of Waterloo
The destabilization of oceanic fronts
Most of the energy injected into the ocean comes from large scale forces such as the tides, solar heating and winds. Large scale motions tend to be both geostrophically and hydrostatically balanced. Because of these balances, it is difficult for energy to cascade to length scales of 10 km and smaller, the so called submesoscales. Two mechanisms that can achieve a direct energy cascade towards the submesoscales are hydrodynamic instabilities and frontogenesis but there are still many unanswered questions as to how exactly this cascade occurs. My proposed research will focus on the instabilities and the resulting submesoscale flows of idealized fronts in the context of two dynamical models. This talk will present the two geophysical models, some preliminary results and the research that I propose for my doctoral research.