Geophysical Institute

GFI/BCCR Seminar | Tor Eldevik: Spiral eddies, an anecdotal review

Tor Eldevik (GFI, UiB / Bjerknes)

Spiral eddies, an anecdotal review


At the sixth flight of the space shuttle Challenger, in 1984, its payload specialist was an oceanographer. Paul Scully-Power's main instrument of observations was a Hasselblad camera. And observing ocean from space, Scully-Power concluded that spiral eddies – O(10km) cyclonic surface ocean spirals – are "perhaps the most fundamental entity in ocean dynamics". The seminar will be an anecdotal review about 1) how an original copy of the Challenger mission report came into my hands to become the closest thing I ever had to a research plan for my PhD project; 2) how theories for the spirals subsequently evolved; and 3) what may be the state of current understanding of spiral eddies. In between I will celebrate and also try to connect the centenaries of GFI and Walter Munk as well as the 80th birthday of my PhD supervisor Kristian Dysthe.