Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Marine Science

Major Professor

Kendall Carder, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Robert Weisberg, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Boris Galperin, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Frank Muller Karger, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sethu Raman, Ph.D.


light attenuation, Hydrolight, hyper-salinity, Princeton Ocean Model, General Ocean Turbulence Model, heat budget, optical models


Solar energy is incident on the earth's surface in both short-wave and long-wave parts of the spectrum. The short-wave part of the spectrum is of special interest to oceanographers since the vertical distribution of temperature in the top layer of the ocean is mostly determined by the vertical attenuation of short-wave radiation. There are numerous studies regarding the temperature evolution as a function of time (see Chapter 2 for details). The diurnal and seasonal variation of the heat content (and hence temperature) of the ocean is explored in this thesis. The basis for such heat budget simulation lies in the fact that the heat budget is the primary driver of ocean currents (maybe secondary to wind effects) and these circulation features affect the biological and chemical effects of that region.

The vertical attenuation of light (classified to be in the 300-700 nm range) in the top layer of the ocean has been parameterized by several authors. Simpson and Dickey (1981) in their paper have listed the various attenuation schemes in use till then. This includes a single-exponential form, a bimodal exponential form, and a spectral decomposition into nine spectral bands, each with their specific exponential functions with depth.

The effects of vertical light attenuation have been investigated by integrating the light models into a 1D and a 3D turbulence closure model. The main part of the thesis is the inclusion of a bottom effect in the shallow waters. Bottom serves two purposes, it reflects some light based on its albedo and it radiates the rest of the light as heat. 1-D simulation including bottom effects clearly indicates the effect of light on the temperature profile and also the corresponding effect on salinity profiles.

An extension of the study includes a 3D simulation of the heat budget and the associated circulation and hydrodynamics. Intense heating due to the bottom leads to the formation of hyper-saline waters that percolate down to depths of 50 m in the summer. Such plumes have been simulated by using a 3D numerical ocean model and it is consistent with observations from the Bahamas banks.