1.2.9. Simulations of laboratory experiments

Figure 1.16 shows MITgcm being used to simulate a laboratory experiment (Figure 1.15) inquiring into the dynamics of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC). An initially homogeneous tank of water (1 m in diameter) is driven from its free surface by a rotating heated disk. The combined action of mechanical and thermal forcing creates a lens of fluid which becomes baroclinically unstable. The stratification and depth of penetration of the lens is arrested by its instability in a process analogous to that which sets the stratification of the ACC.


Figure 1.15 A 1 m diameter laboratory experiment simulating the dynamics of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current.


Figure 1.16 A numerical simulation of the laboratory experiment using MITgcm.