Internal Wave Excitation by Turbulent Convection

Daniel Lecoanet

Department of Physics

University of California Berkeley




Convection near a stably stratified region can excite internal gravity waves. This occurs in a wide range of geophysical and astrophysical settings, including the Earth's atmosphere and core, some gas giants like Saturn, and most stars including the sun. We will present a joint experimental & computational study of internal wave generation by convection. We describe an experiment using the peculiar property of water that its density maximum is at 4 degrees Celsius. A tank of water cooled from below and heated from above develops a cold, convective layer near 4 degrees Celsius at the bottom of the tank, adjacent to a hot stably stratified layer at the top of the tank. We simulate this setup in 2D using the open-source Dedalus code ( Our simulations show that waves are excited from within the convection zone, opposed to at the interface between the convective and stably stratified regions.