A dimensionless parameter that is a measure of the instability of a layer of fluid due to differences of temperature and density at the top and bottom.
- By the mid-twentieth century, geophysicists had determined that the Earth's mantle was likely to advect heat from the core, because its Rayleigh number far exceeds the convective threshold.
- Further, Honda et al. assume constant viscosity, which is an important element of the Rayleigh number.
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