A better understanding of the dynamics in coastal waters is hindered by insufficient knowledge of the dynamics of eddies and fronts with spatial scales of only a few kilometers and time scales of a few hours. These small scale processes may have a significant impact on the global energy budget and phytoplankton production, and may therefore constitute the “clockwork” of the large scale ocean circulation. As these processes cannot be sufficiently recorded with traditional oceanographic measurement systems or satellites, a new observational strategy with aerial measurements and fast vessels was developed that has led to the first in-situ measurements of a small-scale spiral eddy. The observations will provide a better understanding of the physical dynamics, biogeochemical and biological interactions as well as global importance of these eddies and fronts.
The division “Operational Systems” is organized into the following departments in order to develop operational monitoring systems as well as to understand the small scale physical and biogeochemical processes and their impacts on the coastal system: