Our work on Kangerdlugssuaq Fjord in South-east Greenland was written up in an article for BBC Scotland on 24th December 2018. More information on my contribution here; the link to the JGR Oceans article is here.
A computer simulation of the ocean around Greenland was used to study the movement of water in and out of a large fjord. This is important because warm water that gets into the fjord may come into contact with the Greenland Ice Sheet and cause it to melt. The simulation indicates that a significant amount of warm water comes into contact with the ice during the winter. This was previously difficult to measure because of the difficulties in taking direct measurements of the water during the Greenland winter.
This work was based on Dr Neil Fraser’s PhD, but the model was forced using realistic winter wind conditions rather than idealised wind. This was the first time (for me) that using Paraview to analyse model data in 4D has led or contributed to a publication.
Fraser, N. J., Inall, M. E., Magaldi, M. G., Haine T. W. N. and Jones S. C. (2018). Wintertime fjord-shelf interaction and ice sheet melting in southeast Greenland. JGR: Oceans, https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2018JC014435
Porter, M., Dale, A., Jones, S.C., Siemering, B., Inall, M.E. (2018). Cross-slope flow in the Atlantic Inflow Current driven by the on shelf deflection of a slope current. Deep-Sea Research Part I, in press. doi:10.1016/j.dsr.2018.09.002
Jones, S., Cottier, F., Inall, M., & Griffiths, C. (2018). Decadal variability on the Northwest European continental shelf. Progress in Oceanography, doi: 10.1016/j.pocean.2018.01.012
This paper details one of the key outcomes from my PhD so it was good to get it finished! It describes how wind acting over the shallow seas west of Scotland can change the origin of waters on the inner continental shelf (and the coast). This region typically recieves a mix of salty, nutrient rich water from the Atlantic and fresher, relatively nutrient poor water from the Irish Sea. 1-2 months of sustained easterly winds can block the inflow of Atlantic water and drive a pulse of Irish Sea water into the region, potentially importing much greater abundances of Irish Sea organisms and pollutants than during a typical year. This body of water is detectable on the continental shelf for several months before it it fully displaced northwards. Conversely, sustained winter storms can drive Atlantic water far onto the shelf and block the outflow from the Irish Sea, bringing oceanic conditions to what would normally be considered coastal locations. The strong variability which results is roughly an order of magnitude greater than the changes seen in the adjacent Northeast Atlantic so is thought to mask the well documented decadal changes in these waters.
The model robotic glider I built a few years ago is back in action; this time in the Scottish Parliament for a science and technology forum. Expertly modelled by Professor Mark Inall.
My animation of FVCOM model output won the 2017 ARCHeR image and video competition. ARCHeR is the largest Cray supercomputer in the UK, and its supercomputing service was used by Dr Dmitry Aleynik (SAMS) to run a series of simulations of waters off the west coast of Scotland. I used the output of these model runs to create the animation using Paraview.
Link to the ARCHeR competition gallery here.
Learn more about my work on data visualisation here.
1 Aleynik, D. Davidson, K., Dale A. C., Porter, M. (2016) A high resolution hydrodynamic model system suitable for novel harmful algal bloom modelling in areas of complex coastline and topography. Harmful Algae, 53(3):102–117, 10.1016/j.hal.2015.11.012
There are numerous projects and facilities within SAMS that are a mystery to many staff outside specific departments. I thought it might be nice to have an occasional informal show-and-tell with a general staff invite, whether it be an interesting experiment, piece of equipment or entire enigmatic wings of the building.
For a start, Professor Mark Inall kindly offered to do a demonstration of the fjord tank .
We had a great turnout, with two sittings to accomodate everyone. Based on the success of this session we’ll definitely do another one fairly soon. A couple of photos below showcasing the tank and Mark’s smashed finger!
On the weekend of the 27/28th SAMS organised a series of outreach and public engagement activities. I set up an exhibition based on the SAMS Marine Robotics Facility, and featuring several of our underwater vehicles. It’s rare that the public gets to see the robots in the flesh, so it was nice to show them off and answer a range of interesting questions.
A couple of photos courtesy of Raeanne.
I thought I would share some pictures of a recent project to build a hydrofoil for a kitesurf board. Public awareness of hydrofoils has increased since their adoption by Americas Cup catamarans but very simply they are just a wing which is designed to lift in water. For this project, the aim is to generate enough lift to raise the board and rider out of the water, allowing a completely smooth and almost frictionless ride. This means that you can kitesurf in very light winds at up to 3 times the windspeed. Kite foilboards are increasingly being used for racing, but my interest was more in its freeride potential for exploring the flat waters around Oban.
I decided to modify a kite surfboard to suit the foil, but wanted to retain the ability to remove the foil and use it as a regular board when the conditions suited. Consequently the foil is mounted using a strong carbon plate attached to the board by 4 bolts. To spread the load a little more, a glass-fibre plate is also mounted top and bottom.
The forces through the vertical mast are huge, so for this version I bought a pre-made aluminium mast online. The baseplate and wings bolt on to this. I thought this modular approach might come in handy if I decide to build higher performance wings at some point.
As of writing this article I’ve had six sessions with the board and am now reasonably confident at flying it on both tacks. The initial learning curve is very steep and involves a lot of crashes, but it’s been worth the effort. When you get up on the foil the feeling must be similar to a seabird skimming the surface; completely smooth and silent. It’s also very clear that you’re flying a tiny, sensitive airplane through the water, and the muscle memory to control the height takes some getting used to. But it’s very addictive!
Edit: Now have a short clip of it in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLkVU4_AP7M
I was asked to come up with a sketch of a hypothetical coastal vessel which might one day replace Calanus at SAMS. The result was a multihull, loosely based on the RV Princess Royal. It’s deploying a glider for added scientific relevance! Pen and watercolour.