Geophysical Fluid Dynamics

Group Leaders:

From a physicist's perspective, the atmospheres, oceans and fluid interiors of any planet are special examples of rotating, stratified fluid systems in which motions are generated by the action of buoyancy and other forces. In our research programme we are seeking to understand some of the fundamental principles which underly the dynamics, formation of waves, and instabilities of rotating fluids, when subject to differential heating and cooling and other forces.

We hold a seminar series in the Dobson Room at AOPP usually at 14.15 each odd Tuesday in termtime.

More details on our research can be found using the links in the bar on the left.

Main kinds of approaches in our research

  • Laboratory studies of homogeneous and stratified rotating fluid systems
  • Numerical models of rotating, stratified flow
  • Simulations of dynamical phenomena in planetary atmospheres
  • Data assimilation techniques

Some of our current and recent research projects

Laboratory experiments:

  • Baroclinic instability driven by bottom heating with a topographic β-plane
  • Thermally-driven rotating annulus with topography
  • Two layer annulus driven by differential rotation
  • Coupled annulus pair
  • Barotropic detached shear layer experiment
  • Rapidly-rotating annulus (under construction)
  • Geostrophic turbulence on a topographic β-plane
  • Barotropic instability of planetary polar vortices

Numerical models of laboratory experiments:

  • Predictability of the rotating annulus
  • Finite-dimensional dynamics in baroclinic chaos
  • Next-generation adaptive mesh modelling of laboratory experiments
  • The rotating annulus as a test bed for meteorological techniques

Numerical models of planetary atmospheres:

  • Dust lifting and dust storm initiation in the Martian atmosphere
  • Mars data assimilation
  • Oxford Planetary Unified Model System - Venus, Titan, Jupiter, and Saturn
  • Modelling of Jupiter's atmosphere and cloud dynamics using MITgcm
  • Comparative planetary atmospheres using PUMA