Geophysical fluid dynamics refers to the study of large scale flows in
the Earth’s atmosphere and oceans, as well as other plants. Two
features that distinguish many geophysical flows is the strong
constraints placed on the fluid motions due to rotation and
stratification. Earth’s rotation gives rise to the Coriolis effect, the
apparent deflection of moving objects when the motion is described
relative to a rotation reference frame. The relative rate of rotation
changes with latitude due to the spherical shape of planetary bodies, a
feature that gives rise to Earth’s jet stream and the zonal jets
apparent in Jupiter’s atmosphere. Stratification refers to the layering
of different water masses in the ocean with dense fluids on the bottom
and lighter fluids at the top. At large scales, both rotation and
stratification compel motions to be largely two dimensional in the
horizontal plane, but at smaller scales, these constraints break down
and smaller-scale turbulence may occur. Our group studies the
transition between these regimes as well as the impact of coherent
structures (mesoscale eddies, atmospheric storms, zonal jets) on tracer
transport and larger-scale circulation patterns.
Chen, R., A.F. Thompson & G. Flierl, 2016. Time-dependent eddy-mean energy diagrams and their application to the ocean. submitted to J. Phys. Oceanogr.
Ruan, X. & A.F. Thompson, 2016. Bottom boundary potential vorticity injection from an oscillating flow: a PV pump. in revision to J. Phys. Oceanogr.
Su, Z., A.P. Ingersoll, A.L. Stewart & A.F. Thompson, 2016. Ocean convective available potential energy. Part II: Energetics of thermobaric convection. in revision, J. Phys. Oceanogr.
Su, Z., A.P. Ingersoll, A.L. Stewart & A.F. Thompson, 2016. Ocean convective available potential energy. Part I: Concept and calculation. J. Phys. Oceanogr., in press.
Stewart, A.L. & A.F. Thompson, 2015. The neutral density temporal residual mean overturning ciculation. Oc. Model., 90, 44-56.
Boland, E.D.J., A.F. Thompson, P.H. Haynes & E. Shuckburgh, 2012. The formation of non-zonal jets over sloped topography. Journal of Physical Oceanography, 42, 1635-1651.
Thompson, A.F., 2010. Jet formation and evolution in baroclinic turbulence with simple topography. Journal of Physical Oceanography, 40, 257-278.
Thompson, A.F. & W.R. Young, 2007. Baroclinic eddy heat fluxes: zonal flows and energy balance. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 64, 3214-3231. [PDF]
Thompson, A.F. & W.R. Young, 2006. Scaling baroclinic eddy fluxes: vortices and the energy balance. Journal of Physical Oceanography, 36, 720-738. [PDF]