I am a Physical Oceanographer interested in physical mechanisms responsible for the energy flux among the different scales of oceanic movements. From a broad perspective, my research focuses on oceanic turbulence and the mechanisms driving the small-scale processes. These processes are essential for transporting energy from large-scale flows (e.g., large ocean currents) to the turbulence scales, where the kinetic energy is irreversibly lost. In this way, I aim to explore how turbulence, small-scale processes, and the mechanisms that break the ocean balance contribute to the ocean energy budget and their role in the face of climate change. Climate models do not ’explicitly’ solve these aforementioned processes. One of the reasons for that is the limitation of numerical grids, which are larger than the scale of the turbulent flows. They are not even fully parameterized or, in other words, considered in such models due to a lack of our understanding of their role in the whole system, resulting in biased projected scenarios. However, recent studies aimed at the physical insight of small-scale processes and their role in the general circulation of the oceans have increasingly shown that such mechanisms are essential to obtaining more realistic scenarios. In light of current discussions, there is a pressing need for a greater understanding of such phenomena.
“Such small-scale processes can play a key role in how the large-scale ocean and cryosphere evolve under climate change, posing a challenge to climate models ”
Hewitt et al., 2022 [Nature Climate Change]