Different mechanisms lead to dynamical processes in the ocean. These dynamical processes interact and influence each other across multiple time and spatial scales. Discovering, measuring, and understanding the different processes and their influence on ocean dynamics is a key subject of research at OCS. Without such fundamental understanding of what’s going on 'under the hood', we will never be able to fully understand the role of the ocean in nutrient cycling, ecosystem functioning, and our climate system.
Internal Ocean Dynamics
Ocean circulation is important for weather, climate, maritime industry, and marine life. Understanding global ocean circulation patterns and monitoring their key components is essential for our ability to understand its behavior and predict its future changes. At NIOZ this is studied using mooring- and ship-based observations and estimated using new theoretical developments applied to observational data.
Due to our limited knowledge of ocean mixing, we are reaching the limit of our ability to understand and predict important societal questions including future sea-level rise, ocean circulation, oxygen production, hydrological cycle (rain and droughts), hurricane strength, and climate change. We study, measure, and estimate the impact of mixing on ocean dynamics by small-scale turbulence (e.g. breaking internal waves) and mesoscale eddies.
Transport and storage of matter
Will the ocean keep taking up heat and carbon from the atmosphere? How are nutrients transported and how does this influence marine life? Ocean dynamics, such as circulation and mixing determine the transport and storage of dissolved and particulate tracers such as heat, carbon, oxygen, marine organisms and nutrients, needs to be quantified in order to understand its potential impact on our current and future climate.