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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

Lisa Cugini, (401) 874-6642

URI Graduate School of Oceanography Lecture Explores the Interaction of Ocean and Atmosphere

Narragansett, R.I. -- January 5, 2004 -- One of the most important natural processes that scientists strive to understand is how the ocean and the atmosphere interact with one another. Air-sea flux, as this process is called, refers to what the atmosphere deposits into the ocean and what the ocean expels into the atmosphere and has a profound effect on the Earth’s climate.

The URI Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO) will host the fifth in a series of Inaugural Lectures scheduled for the 2003-2004 academic year. "Air-Sea Fluxes" will be presented on Thursday, January 15, at 12:30 p.m. by Dr. Tetsu Hara, URI physical oceanographer. The lecture will be held in Corless Auditorium on the URI Bay Campus in Narragansett.

In his lecture Hara will describe how accurate predictions of air-sea fluxes of gas, momentum, kinetic energy, and heat are of critical importance since they provide the boundary conditions for atmospheric, oceanic, and coupled ocean-atmosphere models, including weather prediction models and carbon cycle models. As such models become more sophisticated with increasing resolutions in time and space, the accuracy of air-sea flux predictions must improve accordingly.

He will also review our current state of understanding of air-sea fluxes, with particular focus on how the fluxes are affected by physical processes near the air-sea interface, such as surface waves, wave breaking, near surface turbulence, bubbles, and sprays.

A resident of Providence, Hara received his B.S. and M.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Tokyo and his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research interests include generation and evolution of ocean surface waves, and mass, heat, energy, and momentum fluxes at the air-sea interface. He also researches the effect of ocean surface films, application to microwave radar remote sensing, and fluid dynamics of benthic boundary layers.

The audience for the Inaugural Lectures is the scientific community and the general public with an interest in and knowledge of science. Although technical in nature, Hara’s talk will not be aimed specifically at physical oceanographers. The purpose of the talks is to inform the scientific community about the nature and significance of research being carried out by GSO scientists.

The lectures are free and open to the public. Subsequent lectures will be held every third Thursday of the month at 12:30 p.m. in Corless Auditorium on the URI Bay Campus. For information, call 874-6246.

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Page last revised Monday, January 5, 2004 .