We want to understand the key ocean processes that regulate global climate and how this may adjust in a warming world.
Our major research focus is on the dynamics of the upper ocean, as it acts as the interface between heat and carbon exchanges between the atmosphere and the deep ocean.
We are aiming to achieve valuable new observations in the Southern Ocean, in particular the sea-ice covered domains, and combine these with modelling efforts to provide a holistic view of the physical polar ocean environment.
The Southern Ocean is a region rich in dynamics in terms of fine scale and high frequency variability of the surface ocean as well as the enhanced forcing of the atmosphere on the upper ocean.
There is increasing evidence that seasonal to subseasonal temporal scales, meso- and submesoscale physical processes play an important role in understanding the sensitivity of air-sea heat, freshwater and momentum exchange to climate change in the Southern Ocean.
However, surface ocean processes are poorly quantified due to lack of observations made at the right time and space scales. These scale gaps have been recognized by the global science community as being a key link towards improving our understanding of the sensitivity of the Southern Ocean to climate change.
This project aims, for the first time, to thoroughly and systematically observe and investigate the role and scales of which these processes have in modulating the full seasonal cycle of upper ocean physics in the Southern Ocean.
Annually, 18 million km2 of ice grows and melts around Antarctica. We have limited knowledge of the ocean within, and at the edge, of this enormous sea-ice impacted domain of the Southern Ocean. ROAM-MIZ aims to observe the full seasonal cycle of the upper ocean at high-resolution in the MIZ near the Greenwich Meridian.
Research Group Members
Marcel du Plessis