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Special Seminar: Predicting Processes of Dynamic Deformation across the Ocean Surface Why did oil in the Gulf of Mexico do what it did?

Special Seminar: Predicting Processes of Dynamic Deformation across the Ocean Surface Why did oil in the Gulf of Mexico do what it did?

jacobs.jpgGregg Jacobs is head of the Naval Research Laboratory Ocean Dynamics and Prediction Branch, which is located at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. The group is composed of 42 government and 35 contractor researchers working to enable ocean prediction. This encompasses understanding the basic physical ocean processes, developing numerical models on supercomputers and assimilating satellite and in situ observations daily. Gregg Jacobs completed his undergraduate degree in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Colorado in Boulder, his Master's degree in Physical Oceanography at Oregon State University in Corvallis and his PhD at the University of Colorado in Boulder studying planetary scale ocean Rossby waves from satellite altimeter data.


Abstract: Material deformation on the ocean surface is strongly governed by the underlying ocean dynamical processes ranging from mesoscale transport at O(100km), frontogenesis at O(10km), mixed layer instabilities at O(5km), submesoscale circulation at O(2km) and smaller features at O(500m) scale.  In addition to the deformation effects, understanding the predictability of processes across this spectrum is critical and requires observations from satellite to in situ. Numerical models at resolutions of 3km, 1km, 250m and 50m sequentially represent the smaller scale processes that lead to the material deformation. The mesoscale transport produces large scale movement of material and is dominated primarily by stretching deformation. Frontogenesis driven by ocean eddies results in dilation deformation. Mesoscale eddies and eddy-driven frontogenesis are shown to be predictable given sufficient satellite observations. Mixed layer instabilities increase both the dilation and stretch at the ocean surface, and submesoscale features add significantly more deformation. Smaller scale features in the 50m model results show an upscale cascade from the small scale accumulating material into clumps which then move into the downwelling areas associated with fronts driven by the general circulation and ocean eddies.

location

CIRES Auditorium - CIRES - University of Colorado
2014-03-05