Thursday, December 1, 2011

Surface Layer and Air-Sea Interaction Processes

This is about the interaction between the ocean and the atmosphere and my master's degree. 

When the interview committee asked me about the possible topic of my thesis, I told them that I'm interested in the dynamics of the near surface layer of the ocean, in this case, the Caribbean Sea.

Within this topic, there are 5 subtopics I proposed to explore during my stay at the university:

1. Intensive mixing produced by wind and waves
2. Intensive mixing produced by heat transfer (convection)
3. Mild mixing due to wind-driven helix circulation (Langmuir Circulation)
4. Mixing due to intensive solar radiation absorption in calm weather
5. Changes in heat content, salinity and density due to freshening induced by rain over the ocean. 

These 5 items correspond to the Fedorov-Ginzburg Classification of Mixing Processes, which has been used worldwide since 1988. Hopefully in the future, I will propose to the scientific community the study of a mixing process not considered before, who knows. But the latter is a theoretical approach more suitable for a Doctoral Dissertation rather than for a master's thesis. For now, I must focus on learning what has been done and how it has been done. 

Current scholarly readings:

Right now I'm doing some review of the literature related to the topic I proposed, namely more on Fedorov and Ginzburg, and what other people have done after them. I'm skimming the following books:
·         The near-surface layer of the ocean By Konstantin Nikolaevich Fedorov, A. I. Ginzburg
·         The near-surface layer of the ocean: structure, dynamics and applications by Alexander Soloviev, Roger Lukas
·         An introduction to Ocean Turbulence by S. A. Thorpe.
·         Environmental Fluid Mechanics by Hillel Rubin, Joseph F. Atkinson.

Quotes from Baudelaire's "The Painter of Modern Life"

In Charles Baudelaire, a flâneur is a man who walks the city in order to experience it. Because of the term's usage and theorization by Baudelaire and numerous thinkers in economic, cultural, literary and historical fields, the idea of a flâneur has accumulated significant meaning as a referent for understanding the urban phenomena and modernity.

It is perhaps in his 1964 book The Painter of Modern Life and Other Essays that the flâneur comes to life, and is understood as someone who experiences the city while being incognito. In other words, this passionate observer is at the very center of the world, and is yet unseen of the world.

Some quotations:

On the passionate idler:
For the perfect idler, for the passionate observer, it becomes an immense source of enjoyment to establish his dwelling in the throng, in the ebb and flow, the bustle, the fleeting and the infinite. To be away from home and yet to feel at home anywhere; to see the world, to be at the very center of the world, and yet to be unseen of the world. Such are some of the minor pleasures of those independent, intense and impartial spirits, who do not lend themselves easily to linguistic definitions. 
On childhood recaptured at will:
But genius is no more than childhood recaptured at will, childhood equipped now with man's physical means to express itself, and with the analytical mind that enables it to bring order into the sum of experience, involuntarily amassed.
On the cup of oblivion:
But the evening comes. The witching hour, the uncertain light, when the sky draws its curtains and the city lights go on. The gaslight stands out on the purple background of the setting sun. Honest men or crooked customers, wise of irresponsible, all are saying to themselves: 'The day is gone at last!". Good men and bad turn their thoughts to pleasure, and each hurries to his favorite haunt to drink the cup of oblivion.