The ocean surface mixed layer communicates heat, mass, and momentum between the atmosphere and ocean interior, hosts the majority of oceanic primary productivity, and plays a key role in the evolution of the earth system. Representing variability in the mixed layer is an abiding challenge in observing and modeling of earth systems due to the multitude and complexity of turbulent processes and their interaction with atmospheric turbulence, ocean interior mixing, surface waves, submesoscale ocean fronts and eddies, as well as sea ice.
This research opportunity is primarily observational, but also includes numerical and theoretical process studies, as well as parameterization development work. We are interested in all processes related to upper ocean turbulent mixing, vertical or lateral, taking place on and interacting among a wide range of scales. These can range from the smallest wind driven boundary layer turbulence O(1cm), to convective or Langmuir turbulence O(100m), and up to submesoscale turbulence and frontal instability processes O(10km), among others. Air-wave-sea interaction processes are also of a particular interest, both as drivers for the upper ocean mixing, as well as for the purposes of improved coupling between atmospheric and oceanic models.
The specific work to be performed by a postdoctoral investigator often involves participation in future field experiments, or data analysis and interpretation from past experiments. These data are usually collected either remotely (satellite, aircraft, aerial drones), or in-situ (research vessel, moorings, drifters, autonomous vehicles). Scaled-down laboratory experiments in wind-wave tunnels are also common. The long-term goal for the analysis and interpretation of these observational data is geared towards improving US Navy’s operational atmospheric and oceanic forecast models, such as NAVGEM, COAMPS, WAVEWATCH III, NCOM, HYCOM, among others. Some examples of past studies can be found within the references below.
Savelyev, I. B., et al. "An empirical evaluation of turbulence closure models in the coastal ocean." Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans 127.4 (2022): e2021JC017588.
Savelyev, I. B., et al. "The impact of nonbreaking waves on wind-driven ocean surface turbulence." Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans 125.1 (2020): e2019JC015573.
Savelyev, I., et al. "Aerial observations of symmetric instability at the north wall of the Gulf Stream." Geophysical Research Letters 45.1 (2018): 236-244.
Air-Sea Interactions; Wind Waves; Breaking Waves; Ocean Mixed Layer; Ocean Fronts; Submesoscale Eddies