Submesoscale Dynamics

Research Focus & Projects

Research Focus

Dynamics of small-scale processes
Modeling of Submesoscale Turbulence
Mesoscale environment for high-resolution modeling of submesoscale turbulence

Mesoscale environment for high-resolution modeling of submesoscale turbulence

High-resolution numerical models are used for further interpretation of the measurements. Presently, the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) is applied in a multiple offline-nested mode to the area of the observations.
The first nest is embedded in an existing operational model, and its task is to simulate the larger mesoscale environment. Further downscaling is accomplished by a second nest which enables the generation of submesoscale patterns on horizontal scales of less than 1 km. Anim1 shows an animation of the sea surface temperature in a subregion of the southern Baltic Sea during the experiment “Clockwork Ocean“ in late June 2016. A detailed view of the birth and decay of a submesoscale eddy is provided by Anim2 by means of the surface density anomaly in the dashed rectangle.

Anim 1: High-resolution modeling of sea surface temperature at the Baltic Sea

Anim 2: High-resolution modeling of density at the Baltic Sea

Investigations of Horizontal and Vertical Representativity of Routine Observations in the German Bight

The Department "Submesoscale Dynamics" is part of the research and funding program PACES II ("Polar Regions and Coasts in a Changing Earth System") of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers.

PACES - Polar regions and Coasts in a changing Earth System


2014 Ludwig Prandtl and ocean glider with microstructure sensor

COSYNA (Coastal Observing system for Northern and Arctic Seas) is a broad system, enabling the systematic and continuous observation of the northern and Arctic coastal waters. Computer models, which simulate coastal sea processes, can be examined and improved using the data collected. The objectives are to describe the current environmental condition and to make short-term forecasts.

The processed data can be utilised by government bodies, the commercial sector and by the public to better plan routine tasks. The data can also assist in exceptional situations so that contaminants, oil spills or poisonous algae blooms can be properly handled. An additional area of application lies in long-term estimates and forecasts.

COSYNA also develops and improves scientific products such as North Sea current maps. Furthermore, measurement buoys and other scientific instruments are utilised, developed and optimised.

In cooperation with many ( partners), COSYNA expands knowledge of the coasts in “our backyard” and globally—as well as on their regional coastal characteristics.

COSYNA - Website Scientific Publications
Towed instrument chain measurements at wind farm DanTysk

Towed instrument chain measurements at wind farm DanTysk

Wind turbines erected in large groups near the coast are called “offshore wind farms”. They are currently under substantial expansion in efforts to convert to renewable energy.

Because they possibly have considerable influence on the marine environment, they are a focus of scientific investigations. The COSYNA system is utilised in these studies with its comprehensive observation capabilities, including radar, buoys and satellites.

Such observations include sea state and waves in the vicinity of these wind farms. The data are fed into the COSYNA computer models. The information obtained is made available to the public and to interested parties.
Observation and analysis methods, particularly concerning changes in the marine environment due to offshore wind farms (e.g., currents, water turbidity, and biological production) are also developed further and adapted.