Cara Taber split her summer at CMMAP working on two different projects under the
direction of Dr. Taka Ito and graduate student Levi Silvers in the area of
geophysical fuid dynamics.
The fist half of her summer consisted of working with a particle tracking
software called "ptrack" and perfecting the camera-hardware-software interfaces
so that they could take recordings of the exeriments, track the position of
individual particles (in her experiments, marbles on a parabolic table or paper
dots in a rotating tank of water), and analyse the data with the software
"MatLab". This process ended up being very difficult since the program is still
being developed and remains in a fairly primitive state.
She also worked on a parabolic rotating table made of plastic resin that is
designed to demostrate the Coriolis force and the concept of rotating versus
non-rotating reference frames. This part of the job involved many trips to the
hardware store for parts and lots of sanding to get the surface to be as near to
frictionless as possible. She also explored the idea of using pucks of dry ice
instead of marbles to eliminate the effects of friction, but this did not go as
planned since the dry ice tended to stick to the ice formed on the resin as it
The second half of Cara's summer was spent with a rotating tank of water
studying balanced vorticies. She conducted the experiments by spinning up the
tank to a steady rpm, waiting about ten minutes for solid body rotation, and
then introducing a dyed, saltwater ice puck into the water. This ice creates the
density difference needed to induce convection and the balance of pressure
gradient force and the Coriolis force so that a stable vortex forms.
Using the particle tracking software, she analysed the
data in MatLab and was able to
compare the different behaviours of vorticies at different rotation rates.
Finally, she put her results together in the form of various graphs especially
focusing on the Rossby numbers.
Samples of the data and results are found on her poster.
Besides geophysical fluid dynamics, Cara also has an interest in tropical
oceanography. She enjoys astronomy, rock climbing and cars!