Sophia Keniston

MIT Department: Mechanical Engineering
Faculty Mentor: Prof. Pierre Lermusauix
Undergraduate Institution: Sweet Briar College
Website: LinkedIn
Research Poster


I am a rising senior at Sweet Briar College in my home state of Virginia. I am currently studying to receive both my B.S. in Engineering Science and Mathematics. My current research involves studying the thermal properties of various materials, and in previous projects I have analyzed the environmental impacts of water policies in Virginia. My goal is to obtain my PhD in Mechanical Engineering. Outside of class I love to read, lift weights, and make quilts.

2021 Abstract

Parameter Sensi
tivity Study on Non-Hydrostatic 2-D Subduction Dynamics

Sophia Keniston1, Pat Haley Jr.2, Chris Mirabito2, Nevan Lim3,
Pierre Lermusiaux
Department of Engineering, Sweet Briar College, Amherst, VA 24595, USA 2Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
3Nanyang Junior College, Singapore, 55611, Singapore

Ocean mixing is when bodies of water of different densities interact, advected by current, waves, or wind. It is one example of a sub-mesoscale (< 10 km) 2-D flow that would ultimately affect the output of a larger mesoscale model when resolved numerically, but the impact is generally unknown. The 2.29 Non-Hydrostatic Finite Volume MATLAB Framework (MSEAS-FV) was developed by the MSEAS-MIT lab to isolate and analyze sub- mesoscale 2-D flows and ocean properties. The code uses the 2-D Navier-Stokes equations with Boussinesq approximations to calculate flows and was configured with constant wind and current forcing. The work done in this research involved varying the value of the horizontal density diffusion coefficient (K1) to analyze the effect it had on the oscillations produced by the subduction of heavy water that had been introduced to an area of constant density. A concurrent phase of the research involved implementing non-constant time- dependency, specifically for the wind stress applied along the top boundary condition.

Results from simulations were compared to collected and constructed data from the 2019 CALYPSO Sea Experiment and the MSEAS-MIT Primitive Equation Model. Experiments showed that oscillations and velocity were noticeably altered when K1 and the wind stress were changed.