We had an incredibly successful test cruise of our new turbulence instrumentation last week. The team worked tirelessly to get the epsilometer working, and to design the new "epsi-fastCTD" vehicle up and running. All went well and now we can measure turbulence in several new, modular and flexible ways!
MOD graduate student extraordinaire successfully passed her qualifying exam this week. The last hurdle to the PhD besides actually writing the thesis!
Nice work Effie.
MOD is inspired by Mai Bui, who wanted to help after hurricane Harvey and took the simple - but not easy - action of jumping on a plane and pitching in. In addition to spending several days packing food and cleaning up, her group raised over $14,000 for the people of Houston.
You're amazing Mai!
We are really making progress on the Navy-funded epsilometer! It is now capable of streaming serial data or writing to compact flash, has a 1000-m pressure case, and can run for a couple of days on AA batteries. We're beginning to put it on everything, including wire walkers and a newly designed fast CTD vehicle.
We have a test early November on R/V Sproul and are hoping for excellent results.
We are currently looking for a postdoc to work with us on the Samoan Passage project. Research tasks include analysis of a dense 3D dataset of moorings and tows resolving hydraulically controlled flows, breaking internal waves, turbulent mixing and other processes in the Samoan Passage, a constriction in the abyssal Pacific Ocean. In addition, we have results from a very high resolution numerical model of the region at hand to help with the analysis.
Scientists from ours and other groups at Scripps, as well as other institutions around the country, are gearing up for a major initiative to better understand the "inner shelf". This is the region just offshore of the surf zone (yes that is the technical term) but still in the relatively shallow water of the coastal ocean. This area is governed by unique but complex physical processes, including wind-driven circulation, upwelling, breaking waves, wakes and instabilities, and internal waves (that ride on density interfaces below the surface). Funded by the Office of Naval Research, we will spend the next couple months observing and trying to detangle the complexities of this system using a combination of mooring and ship-based observations. Befitting the complexities of this part of the ocean, we are attacking with with everything but the kitchen sink, including a staggering 119 moorings(!), 7 ships (!) working in concert, arrays of drifters, dedicated scientific aircraft surveys, and more. We're just loading up gear right now, more details once we get underway! https://scripps.ucsd.edu/projects/innershelf/readying-gear-on-the-rv-sally-ride/
MPL interns Eli Simmons, Louise Xu and Drew Vagen have been hard at work in our lab this summer. Among their many accomplishments: creation of a new travel-time acoustic current meter (Louise), calculation of the flow through the Samoan Passage from a high-resolution model (Drew), and design and construction of many new mechanical devices (Eli). Thanks to all of you for your talent and hard work this summer! Since Louise is a UCSD student, we're happy that she'll continue with us this fall.
Last February, we branched out pretty substantially from our usual bailiwick of internal waves and mixing, and grabbed some huge pumps and tanks in order to create artificial salty plumes of water that we then sampled with an ROV to watch them descend. Why on earth would we do this? Possible future deep sea mining operations will need to return the "tailings" they bring up from the sea floor, so it is crucial to know how they will descend and disperse.
In November we'll be continuing this on a cruise funded by the UC ship funds program. First we'll create plumes with massive tanks of salt water and pumps. We'll then use an ROV, an AUV, our Phased Array Doppler sonar, and side-scan sonars to image the plumes as they descend. Finally, we'll use our towed bodies to track them as the ambient currents sweep them laterally.
The ultimate goal is to inform future policy on responsible practices.