Shallow Horizontal Convection

Supervisor contact

Differential buoyancy fluxes along a single horizontal boundary of a fluid establish an overturning circulation known as `horizontal convection'. Horizontal convection is fundamentally different to the more commonly studied forms of convection, such as Rayleigh-Benard and Grashof convection, in which buoyancy is transported between the horizontal and vertical boundaries, respectively. Idealized laboratory experiments of horizontal convection have a number of features in common with the meridional overturning circulation of the oceans, and have been used to help understand the role that surface buoyancy fluxes might play in the latter. To date, direct comparisons between laboratory experiments of horizontal convection and the global oceans have been complicated by their vastly different geometries; the aspect ratio (depth-to-length ratio) of laboratory experiments tends to be larger than ~0.1, compared with ~0.0001 for the global oceans. This project aims to explore horizontal convection at low aspect ratio by way of laboratory experiments in a long, shallow tank of variable depth.

For more information about this potential research topic or activity, or to discuss any related research area, please contact the supervisor (

Image gallery

Horizontal Convection

Updated:  25 March 2018/Responsible Officer:  RSES Webmaster/Page Contact:  RSES Webmaster