A convective instability is produced by salt water diffusing onto the surface of a fresh-water layer in a Hele Shaw cell. Although the horizontal wavelength of the initial instability is small, an increase in the horizontal wavelength of the convective flow with time and depth is observed as the resulting two-dimensional convection develops. The phenomenon of wavelength variation is confirmed numerically, but quantitative observational and theoretical comparison is limited to small Rayleigh numbers. It is shown that perturbations in the density field cause horizontal pressure gradients, which in turn cause convective elements to combine.
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