Leslie Smith

My research has focused on the nonlinear effects of inertia-gravity waves in atmosphere/ocean flows and the self-organization of waves and turbulence into large-scale coherent structures. Such structures are ubiquitous in nature, and include jets (the North American jet stream and the Gulf stream), vortices (low pressure areas, hurricanes, etc) and persistent layered flows (such as in the stratosphere and the oceans). The relative strengths of the earth's rotation and the density stratification determine the type of coherent structure that will emerge from nonlinear interactions. Methods to understand these self-organization processes include non-perturbative analysis, multiple-scales analysis and numerical computations.

Most recently, I am interested in how the presence of moisture in the atmosphere changes the fundamental fluid dynamics and the emerging coherent structures. For example, we have formulated minimal moisture models that are able to capture important features of cyclogenesis and squall-line formation.

Smith
Leslie
MIT
1988
Professor
Research Interests: 
Fluid Dynamics, Geophysical Fluid Dynamics
Leslie Smith
email: 
lsmith at math dot wisc dot edu
person_type: 
Faculty
web_site: 
http://math.wisc.edu/~lsmith