EEPS Colloquium: Nicole Shibley
Fluid Dynamics for Polar Climate and Sustainability
The fluid processes governing Earth’s polar regions are central to understanding Earth’s climate system and can also give insight into the climate systems of other planetary bodies. In this talk, I will describe how a particular Arctic Ocean mixing and heat transport process, diffusive convection, helps contextualize the warming Arctic through a synthesis of observational and theoretical approaches. In particular, we will discuss how different ocean mixing mechanisms impact distinct regions of the Arctic and how intermittent turbulence in a changing Arctic can disrupt the diffusive-convective process. Such intermittent turbulence is characteristic of Arctic boundary regions, with implications for local infrastructure, shipping routes, and the food web. I will also describe the development of a novel methodology for inferring ocean mixing metrics from oceanographic acoustic measurements, which helps elucidate how intermittent turbulence may interact with diffusive-convective structures. Finally, we will consider how models of Earth’s polar processes, adapted to understand ice-covered moons in the Solar System, can help us glean insight into planetary bodies where in-situ measurements are not available. Emphasis will be placed on how fluid dynamics can address current and future climate and environmental challenges both on Earth and elsewhere in the Solar System.
EEPS Colloquia are made possible by the William C. Ferguson Fund.