The energy of a closed system is steady. It is not lost but rather converted into other forms, such as when kinetic energy is transferred into thermal energy. However, this fundamental principle of natural science is often still a problem for climate research. For example, in case of the calculation of ocean currents and circulation, where small-scale vortices as well as diapycnal mixing and the deep convection processes they induce, need to be considered, to compute how heat content is redistributed along the entire water column and how such processes may change in the future. Similarly, in the atmosphere, the conversion of available potential energy into kinetic energy is the key driver of atmospheric dynamics at a variety of scales, from the zonal-mean general circulation to mesoscale convection. Local turbulent processes can drive larger movements and waves on a larger scale can disintegrate into small structures. All these processes are important for the Earth’s climate and determine its evolution in the future.
How exactly the energy transfers between waves, eddies, local turbulence and mixing in the ocean and the atmosphere works, often remains unclear. This session wants to discuss this by inviting contributions from oceanographers, meteorologists, climate modelers, and mathematicians. We are particularly interested in coupled atmosphere-ocean studies, we are also aiming at filling a knowledge gap on deep ocean processes, as well as novel subgrid-scale parameterizations, and studies of the energy budget of the complex Earth system, including the predictability of the global oceanic thermohaline circulation and thus climate variability.
Martin Wild, ETH, Zürich, Switzerland
Raffaele Ferrari, MIT, USA
Robert Weller, WHOI and OOI Research Infrastructures, USA