Shear and mixing in oscillatory doubly diffusive convection

Francesco Paparella, Edward A. Spiegel, Suzanne Talon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To investigate the mechanism of mixing in oscillatory doubly diffusive (ODD) convection, we truncate the horizontal modal expansion of the Boussinesq equations to obtain a simplified model of the process. In the astrophysically interesting case with low Prandtl number (traditionally called semiconvection), large-scale shears are generated as in ordinary thermal convection. The interplay between the shear and the oscillatory convection produces intermittent overturning of the fluid with significant mixing. By contrast, in the parameter regime appropriate to sea water, large-scale flows are not generated by the convection. However, if such flows are imposed externally, intermittent overturning with enhanced mixing is observed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-289
Number of pages19
JournalGeophysical and Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2002


  • Mixing
  • Oscillatory doubly diffusive convection
  • Semiconvection
  • Shear

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Geophysics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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