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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:Gordon Research Conferences
  • Jonathan D Nash
  • (541) 737-4573
Award Date:11/17/2017
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 30,000
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 30,000
  • FY 2018=$30,000
Start Date:03/01/2018
End Date:02/28/2019
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.050
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:2018 Ocean Mixing Gordon Research Conference
Federal Award ID Number:1800017
DUNS ID:075712877
Program Officer:
  • Baris M. Uz
  • (703) 292-4557

Awardee Location

Street:512 Liberty Lane
City:West Kingston
County:West Kingston
Awardee Cong. District:02

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:Gordon Research Conferences
Street:512 Liberty Lane
City:West Kingston
County:West Kingston
Cong. District:02

Abstract at Time of Award

This award will help initiate a new Gordon Research conference on Ocean Mixing. Turbulent mixing results from complex and chaotic motions that span a large range of spatial and temporal scales. As such, it is particularly challenging to measure and model, with vast and important consequences. In the ocean, turbulent mixing controls transport of heat, freshwater, dissolved gasses, and pollutants. It is crucial for ocean biology because it both determines the flow field for the smallest plankton, and it sets large-scale gradients of nutrient availability. It is also central to understanding the energetics of the ocean and reducing the uncertainties in global circulation and climate models: recent work has shown that the spatial and temporal non-homogeneity in deep-ocean mixing may play a critical role in climate. This biennial Gordon Research Conference (GRC) on Ocean Mixing will provide a unique setting to discuss and improve our current understanding of turbulent mixing in the ocean, and with it a variety of implications for everything from climate change to global nutrient patterns that underlie our fisheries. The GRC format encourages the sort of interdisciplinary thinking and collaboration that is so vital to addressing these societal issues and will help our scientific community be the most vibrant & inclusive it can be. The ocean mixing community has historically suffered from poor diversity, which, while improved in recent years, still needs an influx of new people, a broadening of ties amongst domestic and international collaborators, and increased interdisciplinary interactions. The support from the National Science Foundation will explicitly be used to expand the demographic, professional and geographic diversity of participants by supporting attendance of underrepresented and under-resourced groups who stand to benefit from the intellectual environment and networking opportunities of the GRC format. The purpose and scope of this Gordon Research Conference is to provide an open forum for discussion of the rapidly evolving field of ocean mixing. Emphasis is threefold: observations of mixing in the world, new insights into dynamics that control mixing rates, and impacts of mixing on regional and global circulation and budgets. The latter two include development of parameterizations to turn dynamical insights into useful things to include in regional models and global numerical climate models. Understanding the physics that drives the distribution of deep-ocean mixing intensity is critical. Yet even after a half a century of efforts to understand its global distribution, observations are still sparse; a variety of direct and indirect methods are still needed to characterize the dynamical processes that lead to turbulence, and inferences of mixing from larger scale budgets. As such, the physics of ocean mixing is actively studied using a variety of observational techniques (direct measure of velocity and temperature fluctuations at the smallest scales, inferences from large-scale turbulent overturns, observations of net mixing by purposeful dye release) numerical and theoretical approaches, as well as laboratory experiments. Finally, the consequences of mixing for larger scale climate models (which do not directly resolve mixing) are addressed by turning dynamical insights of the previously mentioned work into practical parameterizations. As a concrete example, using different mixing schemes in numerical climate models changes predicted tropical ocean temperatures by more than a degree and predicted sea level rise by more than 30 cm. Mixing is one of the greatest sources of uncertainty plaguing today's models with impact of great societal relevance. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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