Studies of the ocean circulation and climate have come to be dominated by the results of complex numerical models encompassing hundreds of thousands of lines of computer code and whose physics may be more difficult to penetrate than the real system. Some insight into the large-scale ocean circulation can perhaps be gained by taking a step back and considering the gross time scales governing oceanic changes. These can derived from a wide variety of simple considerations such as energy flux rates, signal velocities, tracer equilibrium times, and others. At any given time, observed changes are likely a summation of shifts taking place over all of these time scales.
- Mathematical Geoscience Seminar