Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research
Royal Netherlands
Institute for Sea Research

Ocean dynamics

Different mechanisms lead to dynamical processes in the ocean on time scales from seconds to centuries, and on length scales from millimeters to the whole planet. The related dynamical processes interact and influence each other across multiple time and length scales. Discovering, measuring and understanding the different processes and their influence on ocean dynamics is a key subject of research at NIOZ. Without such fundamental understanding of what’s going on 'under the hood', we will never be able to understand the role of the ocean in nutrient cycling, ecosystem functioning and our climate system.

Ocean circulation

Ocean circulation influences weather, climate, maritime industry and marine life. Understanding global ocean circulation patterns and monitoring their key components is important 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.

Ocean mixing

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 of 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.