Articles | Volume 18, issue 6
Research article
17 Nov 2011
Research article |  | 17 Nov 2011

The effect of a localized geothermal heat source on deep water formation

M. Vincze, A. Várai, E. Barsy, and I. M. Jánosi

Abstract. In a simplified two-dimensional model of a buoyancy-driven overturning circulation, we numerically study the response of the flow to a small localized heat source at the bottom. The flow is driven by differential thermal forcing applied along the top surface boundary. We evaluate the steady state solutions versus the temperature difference between the two ends of the water surface in terms of different characteristic parameters that properly describe the transition from a weak upper-layer convection state to a robust full-depth deep convection. We conclude that a small additional bottom heat flux underneath the "cold" end of the basin is able to initiate full-depth convection even when the surface heat forcing alone is not sufficient to maintain this state.