Chapter 2 - The Historical Setting

Chapter 2 Contents

2.4 Evolution of some Theoretical Ideas

A theoretical understanding of oceanic processes is based on classical physics coupled with an evolving understanding of chaotic systems in mathematics and the application to the theory of turbulence. The dates given below are approximate.

19th Century Development of analytic hydrodynamics. Lamb's Hydrodynamics is the pinnacle of this work. Bjerknes develops geostrophic method widely used in meteorology and oceanography.

1925-40 Development of theories for turbulence based on aerodynamics and mixing-length ideas. Work of Prandtl and von Karmen.

1940-1970 Refinement of theories for turbulence based on statistical correlations and the idea of isotropic homogeneous turbulence. Books by Batchelor (1967), Hinze (1975), and others.

1970 Numerical investigations of turbulent geophysical fluid dynamics based on high-speed digital computers.

1985 Mechanics of chaotic processes. The application to hydrodynamics is just beginning. Most motion in the atmosphere and ocean may be inherently unpredictable.

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