My research is broadly about natural (geophysical and astrophysical) fluid dynamics, especially in the ocean and the climate. It encompasses theory, computational simulation and data analysis for theory and model testing (validation). Frequent subjects are the general circulation and its natural variability; mesoscale eddy processes; the surface turbulent boundary layer and how it is influenced by surface gravity waves; and, more recently, submesoscale currents (10 meters to 10 kilometers) in the upper ocean, above the bottom topography and near the shoreline. In addition, through collaborations, various problems in oceanic biogeochemical elemental cycles and ecosystems are addressed.
Realistic computational oceanic circulation and coastal simulations are made by our research group and other external collaborators, using the Regional Oceanic Modeling System (ROMS) code. ROMS is both a prototype for developing better simulation capability and a means of investigating oceanic phenomena and processes. Many oceanic phenomena are emergent in inhomogeneous, non-stationary turbulent flows with complex surface forcing and domain geometry, e.g., unstable surface fronts and separating boundary currents. Realistic simulation capability enables discoveries and explanations.
At any given time there is a wide range of specific projects matching my own interests with those of other researchers, students, and visitors to the research group, as well as with various collaborators (see Publications). Some of them are associated with community projects and sponsoring agencies, which currently include the following:
Large Eddy Simulations of Langmuir turbulence in the oceanic surface layer (ONR);
Surface wave-current interaction in the inner shelf zone (NSF, ONR);
Southwest Pacific submesoscale currents (NASA);
Submesoscale, shelf, and littoral circulation in the Gulf of Mexico (Consortium for Advanced Research on Transport of Hydrocarbon in the Environment, CARTHE, (CARTHE and British Petroleum);
Hypoxia and acidification off the west coast of North America (California Ocean Protection Council and NOAA); and
Coastal modeling for the Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System (SCCOOS NOAA).