Charles S. Cox
University of California, San Diego
Election Year: 1996
Primary Section: 16, Geophysics
Membership Type: Emeritus
I am an oceanographer working on small-scale physical processes within the ocean, on air-sea interactions controlled by waves, and on physical interactions between the ocean and the seabed. In oceanic observations, denizens of my laboratory have studied the rate at which internal gravity waves create turbulent mixing and in this way redistribute heat and salt in the vertical. In other work we have looked at the deep ocean process that generates microseisms through a nonlinear interaction between trains of seasurface wind waves. This interaction not only produces motions throughout the ocean but generates electromagnetic fluctuations as well. This study led naturally to an investigation of the electrical conductivity of the ocean lithosphere using both natural and artificial electric sources on the seabed. Early in my career, I studied the relationship of sea surface roughness to the wind that creates it, both at sea and in laboratory experiments. At present I am extending these observations to study the microscale turbulent motions just below the seasurface engendered by capillary waves. These waves move under the joint influence of sharp crested gravity waves and stresses exerted directly by wind. The turbulent mixing has a great influence on the transport of momentum and gases across the seasurface.