About UM Rosenstiel School

About the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School The University of Miami is one of the largest private research institutions in the southeastern United States. The University’s mission is to provide quality education, attract and retain outstanding students, support the faculty and their research, and build an endowment for University initiatives. Founded in the 1940’s, the Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science has grown into one of the world’s premier marine and atmospheric research institutions. Offering dynamic interdisciplinary academics, the Rosenstiel School is dedicated to helping communities to better understand the planet, participating in the establishment of environmental policies, and aiding in the improvement of society and quality of life. For more information, please visit www.rsmas.miami.edu.

Drifter Study Tracks Oil Near Damaged Platform and Mississippi Delta

Scientists gain a better understanding of how spilled oil moves in the Gulf of Mexico

Scientists at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science (UM) and their collaborators designed a unique experiment to study the movement of oil to better monitor and predict the transport path in the event of a future spill. The collaborative research team used a combination of tools which included satellites, drones and surface current drifters deployed around the former site of a leaking oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico which was damaged during Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

The study took place around the platform site just offshore of the Mississippi Delta on April 18-20, 2017 and was a collaboration of two Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) funded projects: Influence of River Induced Fronts on Hydrocarbon Transport, led by Villy Kourafalou, professor of ocean sciences at UM’s Rosenstiel School, and the Consortium on Advanced Research on Transport of Hydrocarbon in the Environment (CARTHE), led by UM professor of ocean sciences, Tamay Ozgokmen.

“This field study provided unprecedented details on how fronts created by the spreading of river waters in the Gulf of Mexico could influence the transport of hydrocarbons and their pathways toward the Gulf coasts.” said Kourafalou.

The scientists collected several types of measurements to track rapid changes of spreading oil, in tandem with changes in the spreading of Mississippi River fronts.  High resolution satellite data complemented boat surveys and floting drifter tracks. UM’s research vessel, F.G. Walton Smith, gathered radar measurments of currents and sections of temperature and salinity. CARTHE drifters, made of floating bamboo plates, and commercial drifters provided by the Norwegian Meteorological Institute (MET) were deployed and tracked in real time.

“A critical aspect for observing the hypothesis of river fronts acting like natural booms in the ocean, was not relying on a single tool, but rather on multiple platforms, such as drones, satellites, ship-based marine radar as well as drifters and subsurface measurements. This collaborative model was very effective and worked well in the field.” said Ozgokmen

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The research vessel F.G. Walton Smith and the vessel St. Anthony near and on surface oil, with the Mississippi River waters in the background (white line marks the river induced front); image credit: Oscar Garcia (WaterMapping LLCAnother key aspect of the study was the measurement and evaluation of oil thickness, which for the first time, is being included into high resolution model simulations of circulation and oil drift performed by UM and MET.

The findings document the close synergy between fronts induced by the Mississippi River and pathways the floating oil followed as it drifted on the ocean surface under the influence of several other factors such as winds, waves and regional circulation. The findings also add a missing component in the complex processes that moved the drifting oil during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill disaster, which occurred in close proximity to the Mississippi Delta. The updated oil drift algorithms which include oil thickness, are expected to greatly improve the ability to monitor and predict oil transport in the event of a future spill.

The field study was coordinated by Oscar Garcia of WaterMapping LLC, which also provided drone and small aircraft surveillance of fronts and oil spreading, as well as satellite data analysis, in collaboration with Chuanmin Hu of the Optical Oceanography Laboratory at the University of South Florida.

Video link: https://youtu.be/T6X2HAsYPu8

Trajectories of individual drifters after a few weeks of release, marking several potential pathways of oil toward the coastline or the Gulf interior; image credit: HeeSook Kang (UM/RSMAS).

Deployment of drifter in thin oil; image credit: Yannis Androulidakis (UM-Rosentiel School)

Outstanding Mentor & Student Award Winners

UM Rosenstiel Professor Roland Romeiser of the Department of Ocean Sciences is the winner of the 2017 Outstanding Mentor Award. This annual award is meant to recognize faculty and staff members who go above and beyond in fostering the professional and personal development of RSMAS graduate students. The award is based solely on student recommendations and nominations were evaluated by a committee made up of student representatives and the previous year’s recipient.

David Ortiz-Suslow (left) and 2017 Outstanding Mentor award recipient Roland Romeiser

According to Dave Ortiz-Suslow, chair of the student SLED committee that choose this year’s winner, “Dr. Romeiser is described as having a profound interest in the well-being of OCE graduate students. He is an excellent instructor, accomplished researcher, and outstanding mentor to many students, not only the ones he directly advises.”

The SLED committee also recognized Professor Elizabeth Babcock of the Department of Marine Biology and Ecology as this year’s Honorable Mention. Dr. Babcock is an excellent mentor who works ardently to encourage students’ professional development at and beyond RSMAS.

Student Awards

On Friday, April 28 an award ceremony was held honoring all UM Rosenstiel student accomplishments during the past year.

Spring 2017 Student Award Winners

Photos of the 2017 awards ceremony can be accessed here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/RosenstielSchool/photos/?tab=album&album_id=10154576154375949

Best Ph.D. Dissertation – F.G. Walton Smith Prize
Dr. Sarah Larson (MPO)

Best Student Publication – Millero Prize
Jara Schnyder (MGG)

Mary Roche Endowed Fellowship 
Mariana Bernardi-Bif (OCE)

Koczy Fellowship
Kevin Schauer (MBE)

Masters of Professional Science for Excellence in Ocean Stewardship
Ana Nader Valenci (MPS)
Jeff Palumbo (MPS)

Graduate Studies Service Award
Samantha Dowdell (MAF)
Meredith Jennings (MAC)
David Ortiz-Suslow (AMP)

Teaching Assistant Excellence Award
Zachary Daugherty (MES)
Sharmila Giri (MGG)
Jacob Jerome (MAF)

Career Development Fund
Ryan Kramer (MPO) and Eleanor Middlemas (MPO)
Michael Connelly (MBE)
Shane Hinton (MPS)
Amanda Mikalian (MPS)
Heather Sadusky (MPS)
Joletta Silva (MPS)
Jennifer Simms (MPS)

David Rowland Endowed Fellowship
Molly Amador (MBE)
Ana Palacio-Castro (MBF)

International Light Tackle Tournament Fund
Lela Schlenker (MBF)
Christina Pasparakis (MBE)
Heather Sadusky (MPS)

Best MPO Student Seminar Award
Ryan Kramer (MPO)

Best Abstract OCE Student Seminars
Romain Chaput (OCE)

OCE/AMP/MAC Best Student Seminar 

Dave Ortiz-Suslow (OCE)

 

Congratulations to our spring award winners and a special thanks to the Graduate Academic Committee for carefully reviewing and selecting the winners from a very strong group of nominations.

 

 

WHERE THERE IS SMOKE, THERE IS A DATA SET!

Paquita Zuidema

Paquita Zuidema

I’m excited to share that early LASIC measurements make clear that black carbon, the component of smoke that most strongly absorbs sunlight, is not only almost always present at the surface of Ascension Island, but at times in extremely high concentrations. During those times, the amount of smoke measured at Ascension is comparable to that measured directly downstream of wildfires in eastern Washington during ARM’s Biomass Burning Observation Project (BBOP) campaign.

In the time series of data analyzed from May 18 to November 30, smoke was detected at the first ARM Mobile Facility (AMF1) 94 percent of the time (using a 2 ng/m^3 threshold for the black carbon mass concentration). Several time periods were particularly smoky, and I have indicated the peak days on this image.

August was the month with the most smoke overall. What was truly unexpected is both 1) the peak numbers and 2) how commonly smoke was detected.

This is remarkable because the remote island is ~1,700 kilometers away from the source of the smoke. While southern Africa produces one-third of the planet’s carbon from fires, it has never been clear where the smoke is ultimately deposited. Similar trends are also evident in the absorption of red, green, and blue light, and in the number of particles that can nucleate cloud droplets.

Prior to LASIC, only one anecdotal aircraft profile, taken in the year 2000, hinted at the possibility that smoke could be present in the boundary layer.

A second look at the plotted data also shows that the black carbon is associated with relatively more cloud condensation nuclei early on in the summer, suggesting the composition of the smoke may change as the season evolves.

We are also fortunate that the AMF1 will be present on the island through October 31, 2017. This means the same instruments will sample two biomass burning seasons and allow us to see if the seasonal evolution is consistent.

These LASIC measurements represent the culmination of the efforts of many dedicated scientists, the technical crew and logistics managers—all of whom must negotiate the challenges of working in such a remote, isolated site.

This is an amazing data set.

Paquita Zuidema, a professor at the University of Miami, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, and principal investigator for the Layered Atlantic Smoke Interactions with Clouds (LASIC) campaign, sent this update. 

Provosts’ and AGU Student Paper Award Winners

Several UM Rosenstiel School faculty received awards for their research from the UM Office of the Provost.

Bill Johns accepts research awardWilliam Johns, professor of ocean sciences, received a Provost’s Funding Award. This new UM research award recognizes productivity in research, as evidenced by sustained, peer-reviewed extramural funding and is selected by a committee of Research Deans. “Your ability to propose and perform innovative and relevant research, and thus maintain a well-funded research program over an extended period of time, is exemplary,” said UM Vice Provost for Research John Bixby.

Johns is a seagoing oceanographer specializing in the use of long-term moored instrumentation to study ocean circulation. His research involves studies of the large-scale wind-driven circulation, with emphasis on the dynamics of western boundary currents, and on deep flows related to the global thermohaline circulation and climate variability.

The 2017 Provost’s Research Award recipients from the Rosenstiel School are:

  • Douglas Crawford Department of Marine Biology & Ecology                            Project, titled “Providing Physiological Phenotypes for 1,000 Human Genomes to Interpret the Importance of DNA Sequence Variation.”
  • Cassandra Gaston Department of Atmospheric Sciences                               Project, titled “Determining the Impact of Saharan Dust on Clouds and Climate.”
  • Neil Hammerschlag Department of Marine Ecosystems & Society                   Project, titled “Assessing Performance Breadth of Large Mobile Fishes in Relation to Temperature Variability Using Multi-sensor Biotelemetry.”

The Provost’s Awards for Scholarly Activity and Research Awards were presented on March 29 at a special event to recognize their research accomplishments. The Provost’s Research Awards are administered by the UM Office of the Vice Provost for Research to provide salary support and direct research costs to faculty for research.

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AGU Outstanding Student Paper Award

AJDA SAVARIN

AJDA SAVARIN

UM Rosenstiel School graduate student Ajda Savarin won the AGU Outstanding Student Paper Award at the 2016 AGU Fall Meeting for her research presentation, titled “Diurnal Cycle of Convection and Air-Sea-Land Interaction Associated with MJO over the Maritime Continent.”

“There is a lot of competition for this distinguished award,” Michael G. Brown, professor of ocean sciences and director of the UM Rosenstiel School graduate program, “Congratulations to Ajda!”

Savarin is pursuing a Ph.D. in Meteorology and Physical Oceanography. Her research relates to the study of an atmospheric phenomenon called the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO), including in its initiation, and its eastward propagation across the region of Maritime Continent, and modeling those processes using the Unified Wave Interface – Coupled Model (UWIN-CM).

UM Rosenstiel School Professor Named UCAR Trustee

Professor Shuyi ChenProfessor Shuyi Chen is one of five new trustees named to the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) board. UCAR manages the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

Chen, professor of ocean sciences at the UM Rosenstiel School in an expert in the prediction of extreme weather events, including tropical cyclones and winter storms. She has also been an affiliate scientist at NCAR since 2006. She serves as vice chair of the National Academies Board of Atmospheric Science and Climate (BASC). A fellow of the American Meteorological Societ. Read more about Chen.

UCAR is a nonprofit consortium of 110 North American colleges and universities focused on research and training in the atmospheric and related Earth system sciences. UCAR manages the National Center for Atmospheric Research for Atmospheric Research with sponsorship by the National Science Foundation. UCAR’s community programs offer a suite of innovative resources, tools, and services in support of the consortium’s education and research goals.

Have you seen these drift cards?

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Scientists need your help in locating these small, eco-friendly wood cards, as part of a scientific experiment studying our local ocean currents.

The Biscayne Bay Drift Card Study (#BayDrift) is a collaborative community science project studying the current flows in Biscayne Bay to better understand how trash, sewage, oil, and harmful algae blooms get transported through South Florida waters by the wind and ocean currents. The effort is led by CARTHE (Consortium for Advanced Research on Transport of Hydrocarbon in the Environment) at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, and the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science.

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On Friday, December 9th, 280 small, eco-friendly wood cards were released into Biscayne Bay from 7 sites near downtown Miami by students from elementary to high school. The “drift cards” are brightly painted and float along the water’s surface, moved by the currents. Each card is coded so the project team can identify where it was deployed. By tracking the location where drift cards are released and found, we will learn how the currents distribute debris in Biscayne Bay.

The ultimate goal of the project is to advance our understanding of the area’s flow patternsMap, demonstrating how the ocean and bay currents transport various substances, but also to give students a hands-on STEAM activity (Science Technology Engineering Art Math). By hosting informative art events at Vizcaya, the Ramble at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden,
the Miami Science Barge, Nerd Nite Miami, the Key Biscayne Citizen Scientist Lecture, and Art Miami at Art Basel, as well as partnering with the youth poetry competition, Piano Slam, the backs of the drift cards are full of colorful images and inspiring poetry. Over 100 of the cards feature poems written by Piano Slam students inspired by the music Migrant Voyage by Manuel Valera and the migration of the ocean currents. The Bay Drift team hopes these eye catching additions will increase the chance of the cards being discovered and reported to the scientists.

Ten local organizations and seven schools participated in the December 9th Bay Drift release:

Organizations Schools
CARTHE at the University of Miami Lamar Louise Curry Middle School
Vizcaya Museum & Gardens Leisure City K-8 Center
Patricia & Philip Frost Museum of Science MAST Academy
Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves Mater Grove Academy
International Seakeepers Society Miami Northwestern Sr. High School
Key Biscayne Citizen Scientist Project Miami Springs Middle School
Miami Waterkeeper South Pointe Elementary School
Miami Science Barge
Piano Slam
Surfrider Foundation – Miami Chapter

This is the second #BayDrift release to date. The first took place on September 12, 2016 and 38 cards were reported, some very close to the release point and some nearly 70 miles aP1110178way. CARTHE scientists also released 15 biodegradable, custom-made, GPS-equipped drifters, providing detailed tracks of their journey. Preliminary analysis shows that most o
f the drifters remained inside the Bay for much longer than some predicted. This could have important implications for resource managers and decision makers in the event of some type of spill inside Biscayne Bay.

If you find a drift card, you are asked to report the location, data, time and a photo using #BayDrift or BayDriftMiami@gmail.com.  For more information on the Bay Drift study, visit www.CARTHE.org/BayDrift.