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Wednesday, April 17, 2013
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
CNLS Conference Room (TA-3, Bldg 1690)


KAC Lecture: Baroclinic Instability and the Meandering of Ocean Currents, Chaos and Associated Spatial Contraction

Joe Pedlosky
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Strong currents like the Gulf Stream and Kuroshio are unstable to a dynamical process called Baroclinic Instability. The basic properties of the instability, which depend on the horizontal density distribution in the currents, are explicated. Moving from linear to weakly nonlinear theory demonstrates the emergence of temporal chaotic behavior in the weakly nonlinear domain by standard asymptotic theory without spectral truncation. When the theory is extended to describe spatial evolution it is shown how the chaotic behavior, along rays coincident with characteristics in space, leads to increasingly abrupt spatial variations.

Host: Bob Ecke, T-CNLS