Nutrient transport from an artificial upwelling of deep sea water

Nicholas Williamson, Atsuki Komiya, Shigenao Maruyama, Masud Behnia, Steve W. Armfield

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26 Citations (Scopus)


The transport of nutrient-rich, deep sea water from an artificial upwelling pipe has been simulated. A numerical model has been built within a commercial Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) package. The model considers the flow of the deep sea water after it is ejected from the pipe outlet in a negatively buoyant plume (densimetric Froude number = -2.6), within a stably stratified ocean environment subject to strong ocean current cross flow. Two cross-flow profiles were tested with momentum flux ratios equal to 0.92 and 3.7. The standard k-ε turbulence model has been employed and a range of turbulent Schmidt and Prandtl numbers tested. In all cases the results show that the rapid diffusion of heat and salinity at the pipe outlet causes the plume to attain neutral buoyancy very rapidly, preventing strong fountain-like behavior. At the higher momentum flux ratio fountain-like behavior is more pronounced close to the pipe outlet. The strong cross-current makes horizontal advection the dominant transport process downstream. The nutrient plume trajectory remains largely within one relatively thin stratified layer, making any ocean cross-flow profile less important. Very little unsteady behavior was observed. The results show that the nutrient is reduced to less than 2% of its inlet concentration 10 meters downstream of the inlet and this result is largely independent of turbulent Prandtl or Schmidt number. Initial results would suggest that if such an artificial upwelling were to be viable for an ocean farming project, a large number of upwelling pipes would be necessary. Further work will have to determine the minimum nutrient concentration required to sustain a viable phytoplankton population and the required spacing between upwelling pipes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-359
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Oceanography
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Anisotropic turbulence
  • Deep sea water
  • Eddy diffusivity
  • Negatively buoyant
  • Nutrient transport
  • Ocean
  • Phytoplankton
  • Plume
  • Schmidt number
  • Unbounded fountain


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