Marcus Hultmark’s research team will conduct an experimental study of the effect of stability on turbulent boundary layers. Two important examples of such flows are the atmospheric boundary layer and the flow under the ice sheets, both of critical importance to the Earth’s energy balance and consequently any weather or climate model.
Currently, there exist no experimental data on these kinds of flows at conditions relevant to the Earth’s energy balance, where stratification often is of critical importance. The main reason is because when the system is scaled down to fit in a laboratory, the fluid velocity has to be increased to capture the inertia of the flow. However, increasing the velocity reduces the effect of stability. This project will yield the first experimental investigation of these kinds of flows in a well-controlled and reasonably sized facility by using highly compressed air, which enables us to replicate the physics without the need for high velocities.
Increasing scientists understanding of stratified turbulence will improve their ability to predict and model systems that depend on it. The accuracy of climate and weather prediction models depend greatly on these details. Further, the unique dataset can serve as a reference for modelers and theoreticians as they validate and tune their theories and models.
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Experimental Physics Investigators Initiative
Princeton University, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering