Louis St. Laurent’s research focuses on the influence of small-scale physical phenomena on the large-scale ocean circulation. The thermodynamic properties of the ocean, such as temperature, salinity, and buoyancy, and dynamic properties, such as momentum, energy, and vorticity, are governed by numerous hydrodynamic processes. These include:
- Turbulent processes, such as diffusion and mixing
- Internal waves and internal tides, wave-wave interactions
- Boundary-layer processes, such as friction and topographic drag
- Buoyancy forcing, heating and cooling by the atmosphere
- Convection, double diffusion, and hydrostatic instability
These studies generally focus on energy exchanges between different classes of fluid motion. This includes the transfer of tidal energy that occurs when large-scale tidal flows interact with the topography of the seafloor to produce waves. These investigations are based on the analysis of oceanographic data, including direct measurements of turbulence made during sea-going field programs.