Internal tides in the tropical Indian Ocean (HALL_UENV17EE)

University of East Anglia - School of Environmental Sciences

Start Date:  October 2017

No. of positions available: 1

Supervisor: Dr Robert Hall

Project description:  

Scientific Rationale
The Indian Ocean is the least studied of the three main ocean basins but contains a wide variety of complex and contrasting bathymetric features, from island chains and mid-ocean ridges to fluvial fans and abyssal trenches. Some of these features generate internal tides that radiate away into the interior of the ocean, redistributing tidal energy and driving the turbulent mixing and upwelling that helps to close the global thermohaline circulation. The distribution and behaviour of internal tides in the Indian Ocean is poorly understood. However, recent in-situ measurements using autonomous ocean gliders and conventional ship-board CTD/LADCPs, along with increased resolution of satellite-derived bathymetry, now make it possible to undertake a detailed analysis of internal tide dynamics in the tropical Indian Ocean. 

Research Methodology
During this project you will run and analyse the output from a suite of regional internal tide models for the Mascarene Plateau and the Andaman Island archipelago. The model suite will include different domain sizes and bathymetric resolutions to identify the key internal tide generation sites in the region and to test the sensitivity of generation to resolved bathymetric scales. You will then compare the model output to recent Seaglider measurements from the Bay of Bengal and CTD/LADCP measurements around the Mascarene Plateau to investigate the radiation of internal tides away from their generation site and their dissipation scale, yielding estimates for the amount of internal tide driven mixing in the region. 

Advanced Training
You will be trained in numerical modelling of dynamic ocean processes and advanced methods for data processing, analysis and visualisation. You will participate in a research cruise where you will gain experience in practical oceanographic methods and as part of the UEA Glider Science Group ( be involved with the deployment and piloting of gliders during upcoming observational campaigns.

Person specification:  The candidate will have a physical science degree or similar (e.g., oceanography, meteorology, physics, environmental sciences, engineering, mathematics; 2.1 or above or Masters required). Experience of computer programming (e.g., Matlab, Fortran) is an advantage. Training in physical oceanography will be provided so a background in ocean science is not required.

Funding notes: This project has been shortlisted for funding by the EnvEast NERC Doctoral Training Partnership, comprising the Universities of East Anglia, Essex and Kent, with twenty other research partners.

Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed on 14/15 February 2017.

Successful candidates who meet RCUK’s eligibility criteria will be awarded a NERC studentship. In most cases, UK and EU nationals who have been resident in the UK for 3 years are eligible for a full award. In 2016/17, the stipend was £14,296.

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