The double diffusive consisted of filling a 1 meter square by 1 cm deep tank with salty water such that the salinity concentration decreases linearly toward the top of the tank. A destabilizing vertical thermal gradient was then imposed from the back of the tank.
I was ultimately unsuccessful at my primary goal which was to observe
the onset of layers due to the instability of the above configuration to
double diffusion (see my paper above). The primary instability was due to
lateral thermal gradients and therefore set a size scale for the layers.
The experiment was, however helpful to understand layer interaction. A more
thorough discussion can be found in the 1996 Proceedings
of the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Summer School at WHOI.
Left to right, Steve, Bill, Francesco (behind Bill's head) me, Oliver (above), Neil (below), Barry (excited) and Paul (says "hi") in Jack Whitehead's Lab at WHOI. We are all overjoyed by a successful experiment on double diffusive instability.