Professor Julie Crockett works to discover more about an unexplored method used to generate internal waves.
Sponsor: National Science Foundation
Principal Investigator: Julie Crockett
Below the ocean there is a natural phenomenon going on that has left researchers and scientists alike wanting to know more. Underneath the waves of the ocean are very powerful, essential internal waves. These waves are caused by density stratification within the ocean. Though invisible to the eye, the boundary between colder, saltier water below and warmer, less-salty water above mix together to create waves similar to those found on the surface and produce deep ocean waves that reach towering heights, travel vast distances, and can play a key role in the mixing of warm and cold ocean waters.
Professor Julie Crockett and her team are working to learn more about a new method of internal wave generation. Crockett will specifically look at internal waves made by the tidal flow over topography in areas of weak stratification that flow into areas of strong stratification. Through three distinct phases, Crockett hopes to learn more about these waves and how they affect the world around us. The first step to Crocket’s project is experimenting with producing internal waves in certain stratified settings. Next, the effects of variations in stratified profile will be characterized. Finally, a model will be made from the energy propagation in order to understand internal waves
There is still much we do not know about the ocean today, despite how long scientists have studied it. Understanding the generation of internal waves would help us better understand more about how the deep ocean works. Not only does the mixing of water benefit the wildlife found on the surface and in the depths, but it helps us predict climate conditions and weather forecast. Since internal waves can travel much farther than waves on the ocean’s surface, energy can be transported long distances to places where wave generation may be weak.
Having a better understanding of the cause of internal wave production will help predictions of where energy is in the ocean is located. As a result, increase knowledge of ocean mixing locations and weather predictions. Not only could this research help further internal wave knowledge, but will also benefit graduate and undergraduate students as the investigation will allow funding for a research project that will give students experience and knowledge of research.