James N. Moum, professor in the College of Earth, Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences, has been given the 2014 Henry Stommel Research Award.
The Henry Stommel Research Award is granted to researchers in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the advancement of the understanding of the dynamics and physics of the ocean. The award honors Moum for fundamental research on quantifying and modeling vertical mixing in the ocean. Moum will receive the award at the Annual Awards Banquet February 2014 during the 94th AMS Annual Meeting of the American Meteorological Society in Atlanta, GA.
Moum, an expert in small-scale ocean mixing, works with the Ocean Mixing Group at OSU. The distributions of heat, salt and chemicals (including pollutants) are critical to the intensity of ocean currents, to long- and short-term climate variations, and the health of our environment. Each is injected into the ocean at various rates and at various global locations. Mixing in the ocean acts to smooth distributions of these properties and to reduce concentrations of pollutants to tolerable levels. Understanding how mixing occurs and at what rates it proceeds is important to understanding how the oceans work, and is especially needed before accurate numerical models of the ocean can be developed.
Research includes: long-term measurements of mixing at the Equator intended to elucidate mixing¹s role in seasonal and interannual variations in equatorial surface temperatures; studies of giant nonlinear internal waves; exploring form drag in the ocean (analogous to atmospheric mountain drag which extracts momentum from the atmosphere’s boundary layer) so this phenomenon can be incorporated into ocean circulation models. The Ocean Mixing Group is actively involved in instrument development, continually trying to make more detailed and more quantitative observations of small-scale oceanic flows.
Fellow OSU oceanographers Dudley Chelton and John S. Allen received the Stommel Award from the American Meteorological Society in 2011 and 2005, respectively.