Squeeze dispersion

The density stratification and carbon content of the abyssal ocean is set by an equilibration between the formation of cold, salty bottom water in polar winters and mixing between this water and warmer, fresher waters above by turbulence on millimeter to meter scales. The implication of this story is astounding: basically, the ocean and climate of Earth is inextricably linked to ocean-churning turbulence on the smallest of scales.

Squeeze dispersion is a way through which large-scale ocean eddies and currents interact — motions on 10 to 100 km scales — interact with small-scale turbulence to enhance the rate at which things like heat and carbon mix in the vertical and into the abyssal ocean. We’re calling this process squeeze disperion because it has to do with how eddies and currents squeeze (and stretch) fluid surfaces.