Stochastic Transport in Upper Ocean Dynamics

ERC grant

The project brings together three world-calibre institutions with complementary expertise to produce a new systematic capability for dealing with the changing regimes of uncertainty in upper ocean fluid transport: IFREMER (ocean observations, reanalysis); INRIA (computational science); Imperial College (mathematics, data assimilation).

Our approach accounts for transport on scales that are currently unresolvable in computer simulations, yet are observable by satellites, drifters and floats. Our research is:

  • driven by data and new methods for its analysis
  • informed by mathematical modelling
  • quantified in concert with computer simulation
  • optimised by using our newly developed methods of data assimilation

The project aims to deliver profound capabilities for dealing with the uncertainty in prediction of upper ocean transport of heat, salinity, acidity and chemical concentration. To achieve this breakthrough, synergy of capabilities will be required, comprising:

  • guided analysis of high-resolution observations
  • large-scale numerical simulations
  • new data-based mathematical approaches to fluid dynamics which properly account for uncertainty in observations and simulations
  • recent breakthroughs in stochastic data assimilation techniques which deal with high dimensional data

The transdisciplinary project will provide solutions for collecting, coordinating and interpreting data, which will be made widely available for oceanographic community research and benefit international commerce by providing high-resolution information for use in route optimisation systems to reduce the fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of ships.

The project will also provide decision makers a means of quantifying the effects of local patterns of sea level rise, heat uptake, carbon storage and change of oxygen content and pH in the ocean. Its multimodal monitoring will enhance the scientific understanding of marine debris transport, tracking of oil spills and accumulation of plastic in the sea.