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Opportunity at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Upper-Ocean Currents and Air-Sea Interaction: Observations by Uncrewed Surface Vehicles and Simulations/Predictions by Numerical Models


Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, Pacific Marine Environment Lab

RO# Location
26.77.85.C0567 Seattle , WA 98115


name email phone
Zhang, Chidong 206-526-4146


Air-sea interaction is vital to global weather-climate. In many parts of the world's ocean, however, there is no in situ observation near the air-sea interface on both sides. That has impeded our understanding of air-sea interaction processes and our ability of representing them in numerical models. Recent technology advancement of uncrewed surface vehicles (USVs) provides unprecedented opportunities to make in situ observations the first time in many regions. 


Saildrones are USVs powered by wind and solar energy and operated remotely. They have been deployed in the Arctic, Tropics, South Ocean and many other oceanic regions (Meinig et al 2019). They observe the upper ocean and near-surface atmosphere. Their observations provide estimates of air-sea fluxes of energy, momentum and chemistry (e.g., Sutton et al. 2021). 


This research opportunity focuses on observations of upper-ocean currents measured by acoustic Doppler current profilers (ADCPs) and on surface fluxes from global saildrone deployment in recent years and in the near future. The goal is to advance our knowledge and understanding of the upper ocean and air-sea interaction in regions of sparse or no in situ observations and to validate numerical model products (data assimilation, predictions). Activities include participation in saildrone missions, data quality control and analysis, and presentations of research results at conferences and in journal publications. 


Meinig, C., Burger, E.F., Cohen, N., Cokelet, E.D., Cronin, M.F., Cross, J.N., De Halleux, S., Jenkins, R., Jessup, A.T., Mordy, C.W. and Lawrence-Slavas, N., 2019. Public–private partnerships to advance regional ocean-observing capabilities: A Saildrone and NOAA-PMEL case study and future considerations to expand to global scale observing. Frontiers in Marine Science6, p.448.


Sutton, A.J., Williams, N.L. and Tilbrook, B.D., 2021. Constraining Southern Ocean CO2 Flux Uncertainty Using Uncrewed Surface Vehicle Observations. Geophysical Research Letter, 48, 3, e2020GL091748

air-sea interaction; upper-ocean currents; saildrone observations; model validation


Citizenship:  Open to U.S. citizens, permanent residents and non-U.S. citizens
Level:  Open to Postdoctoral and Senior applicants


Base Stipend Travel Allotment Supplementation
$58,000.00 $2,000.00

Experience Supplement:
Postdoctoral and Senior Associates will receive an appropriately higher stipend based on the number of years of experience past their PhD.

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