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Welcome to GFDI!

Founded in 1967, the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Institute fosters collaborative research in fluid dynamics as it applies to the Earth Sciences, Mathematics, and Astrophysics.


Research at GFDI is conducted by our faculty associates using computing, laboratory, and observational facilities at the institute.

PhD's in GFD, Applied Math

GFDI offers an interdisciplinary Ph. D. program in Geophysical Fluid Dynamics, and a joint Ph. D. program in Applied Math and GFD with the FSU Department of Mathematics.

Fire Dynamics

Purpose is to bring together FSU faculty to build a fire science program with regional partners.

Sub Seasonal

Sub-seasonal forecasts for time periods of high probability of cold air outbreaks in Eurasia and North America is predicted.

Upcoming Seminars:

Upcoming GFDI Colloquia
2016-03-14 Mark Sussman Seminar

“An adaptive coupled levelset and moment-of-fluid method for simulating droplet impact and icing on solid surfaces.”

Dr. Mark Sussman

Professor of Mathematics

Florida State University


Monday, March 14, 2016 at 1:00PM



Melvin Stern Seminar Room

Room 18 Keen Bldg.


Refreshments will be served at 12:45PM

A new numerical method is presented for simulating droplet impact and icing on solid surfaces.  The four materials, air, liquid, ice, and solid are represented using the coupled level set and moment-of-fluid interface reconstruction method.  The moment-of-fluid interface reconstruction algorithm has volume and linearity preserving properties using only local information within a computational cell, and for any number of materials. The ghost fluid numerical method has been implemented so that solutions are consistent with the jump conditions at the interface(s) taking into account surface tension, triple point conditions, contact line dynamics, phase change, expansion of ice, and heat release.  Results are presented in 2D, RZ, and 3D coordinate systems which demonstrate the effect of surface wetting properties on the resulting drop impact and solidification.
The presented numerical method is general enough to be applied to many scenarios where materials change phase.  An example of the application of the new method to nucleate boiling problems in microgravity environments
will be presented too.

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2016-03-23 Cory Barton Defense


“Spatio-Temporal Evolutions of Non-Orthogonal Equatorial Wave Modes Derived from Observations”


Cory Barton

Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Ph.D. Candidate

Florida State University

(Major Professor: Dr. Ming Cai)

Time: Wednesday, March 23, 2016 at 1:00PM

Place: Melvin Stern Seminar Room Room 18 Keen Bldg.

Dissertation Defense will follow the seminar


Abstract:  Equatorial waves have been studied extensively due to their importance to the tropical climate and weather systems. The non-orthogonality of wave modes has yet posed a problem when attempting to separate data into instantaneous wave fields where the waves project onto the same structure functions. We propose the development and application of a new methodology for equatorial wave expansion of instantaneous flows using the full equatorial wave spectrum. By mapping the meridional structure function amplitudes to the equatorial wave class amplitudes, we are able to diagnose instantaneous wave fields and determine their evolution.


The wave class spectra diagnosed assuming the peak projection response depth scale mostly match their expected dispersion curves, showing that this method successfully partitions the wave spectra by calculating wave amplitudes in physical space. This is particularly striking because the time evolution, and therefore the frequency characteristics, is determined simply by a timeseries of independently-diagnosed instantaneous horizontal fields. Vertical tilting in the wave fields is similarly diagnosed across multiple pressure levels. We have confirmed the continuous evolution of the QBO selection mechanism for equatorial waves in the tropical middle atmosphere and additionally identified a time-evolution of the zonal wavenumber spectrum responsible for the amplitude variability in physical space.

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News Items:

2015-10-30 Educational field trip on the St. Marks and Wakulla river

FSU and the Big Bend Coastal Conservancy (BBCC) organized a field trip on the St. Marks and Wakulla river for The Florida Master Naturalist Program's 'Coastal Systems Module'. This field trip was meant to introduce students to the physical characteristics of Florida's waterways and coastal area, as well as basic sampling procedures. Primarily, focus was on variations in salinity, temperature and dissolved oxygen and sources of these variations. From there, discussions led us to river-ocean mixing and basic air-sea interactions. Students were split among four boats, where they were in charge of sampling under the supervision of a FSU volunteer. Instruments used were: a SeaBird CTD, two handheld YSI CT's, a YSI water quality sonde, secchi disks, underwater camera and rhodamine dye. FSU volunteers were Elizabeth Simons (GFDI), Karina Khazmutdinova (GFDI), Thomas Kelly (EOAS) and Natalie Geyer (EOAS). 

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Nick Moore on the Optimal Flexible Wing Design

GFDI Associate Prof. Nick Moore recently published a paper on the optimum design for a flexible wing.  

"'We want to understand how wings and fins perform differently when they are made of flexible material,' Moore said. 'Sometimes, flexibility can really boost performance, but too much flexibility can be a bad thing. We want to find the happy medium.'"

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20-year-old cave diving mystery



GFDI Assoicate Dr. Doron Nof, along with graduate student Lakshika Girihigama and researcher Dr. Catherine Hancock are featured in this FSU news bulletin about their research on the fluid dynamics of underwater cave collapse.

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Office Manager Vijaya Challa receives Exemplary Service Award

Office Manager Vijaya Challa receives Exemplary Service Award

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Associate Ming Ye interviewed in NOVA episode

GFDI Associate Dr. Ming Ye appeared in a recent episode of NOVA, Sinkholes—Buried Alive, which aired January 28, 2015 on PBS. Dr. Ye demonstrated a laboratory model of sinkhole formation designed by Dr. Daniel Kuncicky and run by graduate students Xia Tao and Roger Pacheco. The segment starts at 14:32.

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GFDI Calendar

Seminars and Colloquia are held in the Melvin Stern Seminar Room located at GFDI, 018 Keen Building, FSU Main Campus

Research Highlight:

Grad Student Karina Khazmutdinova: Air Circulation in Dragon's Tooth Cave


Being a natural laboratory, a cave carries imprints of ancient and recent climates, allowing us a unique setting for studying climate change. Karina's work focuses on understanding of the cave's breathing patterns through the main opening and through "chimneys." Proper modeling and simulation of airflow in the cavern will help interpret speleothem records more accurately and see if there is any airflow impact on speleothems' growing patterns. 


A detailed, high-resolution three-dimensional map of DTC with the Dragon's Belly extension was created in November 2015. Using time-of-flight range measurements enhanced by modern Waveform Digitizing technology, Leica ScanStation P20 measures of up to 1 million points per second.

 To make sure every single detail of the cave will be captured,  the measurements were conducted at 52 stations throughout the cave. Field data was converted into digital 3-D point cloud using Cyclone software. A high-resolution 3-D volumetric model is used to more accurately model air flow in the cavern.

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