5 March, 2015

Oceanographers discover ‘Taylor columns’ are widespread in Southern Ocean according to new research published recently in the Journal of Geophysical Research

Lead author Professor Mike Meredith, a Senior Oceanographer at British Antarctic Survey says, “About 100 years ago, some clever people (one of whom was called G.I. Taylor) did experiments with water in tanks and discovered that a fluid can behave very strangely when it flows into a bump, by essentially sticking to the top of the bump and spinning on the spot. Since then, these ‘Taylor columns’ have been invoked as being important in a range of realistic settings, including the Great Red Spot on Jupiter. What we have found now is that they are surprisingly widespread in the Southern Ocean in regions where undersea mountains are common, and that they play a significant role in influencing circulation and mixing, with implications for both climate and ecosystems.”