Oceans RP report, December 2017

It has been an impressive end to the year for the Oceans program.

Alex Sen Gupta was awarded the Frederick White Medal in November by the Australian Academy of Sciences. The medal is awarded to mid-career scientists whose work has a direct impact on the lives of people. Alex was selected by the Academy because “His world‐class research achievements have provided new insights into improving seasonal forecasts; identifying and correcting errors in modern climate models, improving climate projections, and improving our understanding of how physical changes to our oceans affect marine biology and important fisheries”.

PhD student Nicola Maher was recognised by the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society when she was given the Uwe Radok award for Best PhD Thesis. The thesis produced six papers and she already has in excess of 200 citations.  

 

Internal waves

Fig 1 : Ultra-high resolution numerical model showing the spontaneous generation of internal waves from fronts and jets near the ocean surface. Colours show the energy transfer into the downward wave field from the mean flow. The downward propagating waves are visualised by an isosurface of the vertical wave energy flux.)

 

Continuing the recognition of the calibre of the Ocean program’s researchers, Callum Shakespeare has been awarded a DECRA to continue his ultra-high-resolution modelling work that revealed a new source of internal wave energy in the ocean. Internal waves are an important part of ocean dynamics that maintains the ocean overturning circulation.

Meanwhile Ryan Holmes produced a fascinating paper that also looked at deep ocean circulation. Working with Casimir de Lavergne, the paper provided an explanation for how the oldest water in the ocean gets trapped in a shadow for more than 1000 years. The paper received good media coverage in Australia and around the world. 

The Oceans RP is continuing to contribute to developing new ocean-sea ice model configurations for the Australian community. There has been considerable effort by the program in this area with results likely to be reported in our next newsletter.

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