Small Scale Processes in Geophysical Fluid Flows


  • Lakshmi Kantha, University of Colorado, Boulder, U.S.A.
  • Carol Clayson, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, U.S.A.

While ocean waves are the most visible example of oceanic mixing processes, this macroscale mixing process represents but one end of the spectrum of mixing processes operating in the ocean. At the scale of a typical phytoplanktoic diatom or larval fish inhabiting these seas, the most important mixing processes occur on the molecular scale - at the scale of turbulence. Physical-biological interactions at this scale are of paramount importance to the productivity of the seas (fisheries) and the heat balance that controls large scale ocean climate phenomena such as El Niño and tornadoes. This book grew out of the need for a comprehensive treatment of the diverse elements of geophysical fluid flow at the microscale. Kantha and Clayson have arranged a logial exposition of the various mixing processes operating within and between the oceans and its boundaries with the atmosphere and ocean floor. The authors' intent is to develop a volume that would provide a comprehensive treatment of the fundamental elements of ocean mixing so that students, academics, and professional fluid dynamicists and oceanographers can access this essential information from one source. This volume will serve as both a valuable reference tool for mathematically inclined limnologists, oceanographers and fluid modelers.
View full description


Academics, graduate students, and researchers in the engineering, atmospheric, oceanic, and earth system sciences will enjoy this mathematical treatment of the various processes and scales of turbulence and mixing in water bodies ranging from mud puddles to ocean basins.


Book information

  • Published: July 2000
  • ISBN: 978-0-12-434070-1


Applied Mechanics Reviews, Volume 54 (1), Jan 2001 "...well-organized, comprehensive, and up-to-date...a good addition to libraries' collections...appropriate for graduate level courses in fluid dynamics."

Table of Contents

Foreword (by Walter Munk), Preface, Prologue 1. Turbulence2. Oceanic Mixed Layer3. Atmospheric Boundary Layer4. Surface Exchange Processes5. Surface Waves6. Internal Waves7. Double-Diffusive Processes8. Lakes and ReservoirsAppendix A: Units; Appendix B: Equations of State; Appendix C: Important Scales and Nondimensional Quantities; Appendix D: Wave Motions References, Biographies, Index