Ocean Mixing and Stirring  
  Principal Investigator: Dr. Miles A. Sundermeyer
msundermeyer@umassd.edu • 508-999-8892
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
School for Marine Science and Technology
 
 

Home/Overview

Publications
People

* ** Graduate Research
    Assistantships
    Available
**

Teaching:

* Courses Taught

Research:

* Lidar Studies of Small- Scale Lateral Dispersion - LatMix
* 3D Dye Mapping using Airborne Lidar - Florida 2004 Pilot
* Lab Studies of Stirring by Small-Scale Geostrophic Motions
* Numerical Simulations of Vortical Mode Stirring
* Coastal Mixing & Optics (CMO)
(... More links coming soon!)
* The North Atlantic Tracer Release Experiment (NATRE)
(Links coming soon!)

Additional Links
* M. Sundermeyer's CV (PDF)

 

© 2005 Miles A. Sundermeyer (msundermeyer@umassd.edu)
Note: Please do not use the data, text, or images contained on this site without prior permission.

Quote of the Day
"The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' (I found it), but 'That's funny ...' "
Isaac Asimov
Photo of Miles   Dr. Miles A. Sundermeyer

Research Areas: Vertical and horizontal mixing processes, dye release and Lagrangian drifter studies, numerical modeling of two- and three-dimensional turbulent flows, numerical modeling of physical and biological interactions.

Surface dye injection during the Ledwell et al. GLOBEC dye cruise.
Surface dye injection during the Ledwell et al. GLOBEC dye cruise.

Dispersion in the ocean is not solely the result of molecular processes, but rather is significantly enhanced by shearing and straining on scales ranging from millimeters to hundreds of kilometers. The goal of the Ocean Mixing and Stirring group is to understand the role of such motions in the ocean, and to quantifiy their effects from the mesoscale down to scales of a few hundred meters.

The importance of mixing and stirring processes in the ocean range from their influence on climate to their role in distributing nutrients and microscopic organisms that are the base of the oceanic food chain. On basin scales, the distributions of heat and salt are the fundamental driving forces for the thermohaline circulation. On smaller scales, dispersion also sets the rate at which nutrients are distributed from their sources, such as river outflows and upwelling regions.

1997 rhodamine experiment
Lateral dispersion in August 1997 during the Coastal Mixing & Optics (CMO) program.

The broad-reaching implications of dispersion in the ocean have made it a widely explored field. However, our understanding of the underlying processes remain limited, partly due to the difficulty of making observations, and partly because of the complexity of the random and turbulent processes that are often encountered in oceanic environments. Two powerful approaches which have made studies of oceanic dispersion more tractable are Lagrangian drifter- and tracer-release experiments, and numerical models.

Conceptual model of the adjustment of mixed patches.
Conceptual model of the adjustment of mixed patches.

We use a combination of observations and numerical models to study mixing and stirring in the ocean on a variety of scales. Specifically, we use Lagrangian tracers and drifters to measure dispersion in the field on scales of a few meters to hundreds of kilometers. We further use numerical models to synthesize the observations and gain insight into the underlying mechanisms.

Some recent Ocean Mixing and Stirring projects include:

  • High Resolution Dye Release Experiments using Airborne LIDAR
  • Laboratory Studies of Lateral Dispersion by Small-Scale Geosrophic Motions
  • Numerical Simulations of Vortical Mode Stirring
  • Coastal Mixing and Optics dye release experiments
  • The North Atlantic Tracer Release Experiment

(Please see side bar for more information on individual projects)

Prof. Miles A. Sundermeyer
The School for Marine Science and Technology
706 South Rodney French Blvd., New Bedford, MA 02744-1221
voice: 508.999.8892 fax: 508-910-6371 e-mail: msundermeyer@umassd.edu
www.smast.umassd.edu/msundermeyer