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Determining turbulent controls on ocean structure using autonomous robots

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  • Full or part time
    Dr M Palmer
    Prof J Sharples
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

This is an extract of the research project. Simply click on “Apply on-line” above for an instant access to the complete version.

Data for this project will come from combined deployments of the NOC and Royal Navy fleets of autonomous ocean gliders. Specific to this project are the NOC Ocean Microstructure Gliders (OMGs, Palmer et al, 2015), the Royal Navy ADCP enabled gliders and the newly acquired OMG+ADCP that combines the turbulence measuring capability of the OMG with current velocity measurements.

Using these data the student will firstly develop the techniques required to process the glider mounted ADCP data to produce accurate measurements of current velocity and vertical shear. These techniques will then be used to process and analyse coincident density, velocity and turbulence data from the OMG+ADCP within a variety of forcing scenarios to build an improved picture of how turbulence develops in our oceans and the consequences of this mixing. This research will allow the student to address the primary objective of this project,

To improve capability in predicting ocean turbulence and mixing in stratified and near surface regions.

and to meet further objectives to,

Examine the mechanisms that promote instability and turbulence within stratified ocean layers.
Assess the impact of small-scale instabilities in terms of turbulence and mixing.
Develop detailed diagnostics of how the spatial and temporal resolution of observations of turbulence impact on estimates of ocean mixing.

In addition to the training provided by our DTP the student will also benefit from the expertise of their supervisory team who will provide training in,

Data processing and analysis techniques relating to a wide range of ocean measurements inc. ocean microstructure (turbulence), gliders, ADCP and CTD.
Applied mathematical and physical analytical techniques.

Participation in seagoing research and training in glider operations and preparation.

Funding Notes

Competitive tuition fee, research costs and stipend (£14,056 tax free) from the NERC Doctoral Training Partnership “Understanding the Earth, Atmosphere and Ocean” (DTP website: http://www.liv.ac.uk/studentships-earth-atmosphere-ocean/) led by the University of Liverpool, the National Oceanographic Centre and the University of Manchester. The studentship is granted for a period of 42 months. Further details on eligibility, how to apply, deadlines for applications and interview dates can be found on the website. EU students are eligible for a fee-only award.


M. R. Palmer, G. R. Stephenson, M. E. Inall, C. Balfour, A.Dusterhus & J. A. M. Green (2015) Turbulence and Mixing by Internal Waves In The Celtic Sea Determined From Ocean Glider Microstructure Measurements. Journal of Marine Systems http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jmarsys.2014.11.005

Palmer, Sharples, Inall et al (2013), Variable Behavior In Pycnocline Mixing Over Shelf Seas. GRL, 40, doi: 10.1029/2012GL054638.

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