W. N. Haine
Morton K. Blaustein
Academic Background | Research Interests | Current Research Projects | Group | Classes | News | Preprints & Publications
2012 Morton K. Blaustein Chair and Professor of Earth & Planetary Sciences, Johns Hopkins University.
2000 Assistant, Associate, then Full Professor, Johns Hopkins University.
1996 University Lecturer in Physics, University of Oxford, UK.
1994 Postdoc, MIT.
1993 Ph.D. Physical Oceanography, University of Southampton, UK.
1992 M.A. Physics & Theoretical Physics, University of Cambridge, UK.
1988 B.A. Physics & Theoretical Physics, University of Cambridge, UK
Ocean Circulation and Dynamics
My overall research interest is the fundamental understanding of the physics of the basin-scale ocean and its role in Earth's climate. I am involved in improving estimates of the geophysical state of the ocean circulation through analysis of field data and circulation model results. The subpolar North Atlantic ventilation process (rates, pathways, variability, and mechanisms) interests me in particular. I also investigate key physical processes that maintain the state of the extra-tropical upper ocean focusing on fluid dynamics and thermodynamics and their role in controlling sea surface temperature variability over years to decades.
Knowledge of these processes is vital if we are to describe and understand climatic fluctuations on time-scales of years to decades. At these low frequencies one must accept that the ocean and atmosphere are components of a coupled system. Understanding low frequency natural climate perturbations is clearly a problem of special current relevance. Further, explaining natural climate variability is a pre-requisite of addressing man-kind's effect on global climate.
Current Research Projects
Tracers & Transport Diagnostics
We aim to identify and understand the tracer-independent transport information contained in ocean tracer data. With collaborators, I have developed some new, powerful theoretical tools and I am applying them to diagnose transport timescales and water-mass composition in the North Atlantic ocean. We are also exploiting the ideas to estimate the oceanic burden of anthropogenic carbon - the new methods have distinct advantages. My long-term aim is to synthesize these ideas about passive tracer transport with potential vorticity theories (that is, dynamically-active tracer theories) of the ocean general circulation."Transit-time distributions: A tool to diagnose rates and pathways of tracer transport in advective/diffusive flow" at the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications Workshop on "Transport and Mixing in Complex and Turbulent Flows." You can also watch my tutorial lecture on "Introduction to dynamics and tracer dispersion in geophysical fluids"
In summer 2011 I co-organized the International Workshop / School on Tracer and Timescale Methods for Understanding Complex Geophysical and Environmental Processes, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.
Subpolar Atlantic Circulation & Dynamics
The goal is to better understand the circulation and dynamics of the Denmark Strait, East Greenland Shelf, and Irminger Sea. Diagnosing and monitoring the flow in this area is critical to estimate the state and variability of the meridional overturning circulation in the North Atlantic ocean. My approach is to use high-resolution numerical models, state-of-the-art data assimilation, and collaborate with observational oceanographers and atmospheric scientists working this area.
This project contributes to the international Arctic-Subarctic Ocean Flux (ASOF) study: I am chair of the International Scientific Steering Group for this program.
Some recent animations of our 2km, 97-level simulation of overflow through Denmark Strait are here (from High-frequency fluctuations in Denmark Strait transport) and here (from On the nature and variability of the East Greenland Spill Jet: A case study in summer 2003).
We're particularly interested in the role of sub-mesoscale atmospheric motions on subpolar ocean circulation, and collaborate with atmospheric scientists on this topic. See this clip for an impression of the Irminger Sea atmospheric boundary layer from the FAAM research aircraft at 100feet!
I'm also interested in the environmental knowledge of Norse colonists to Iceland, Greenland and North America in the middle ages.
Geophysical Fluid Dynamics
We want to understand the dynamics of rotating stratified fluids in laboratory experiments involving non-linear interactions. Fascinating measurements by Paul Williams shows that large-scale, low-frequency balanced motions can spontaneously emit short fast waves in a laboratory experiment (see this movie). This presents a challenge to theorists who have quite strong evidence that this should not occur. We are trying to understand what's going on.
I'm also a member of the American Meteorological Society Atmospheric & Oceanic Fluid Dynamics Committee, and involved in organizing the bi-annual AOFD meetings.
Fundamental Ideas in Climate Sensitivity
Aim: To identify and understand the dynamic and thermodynamic mechanisms controlling midlatitude interannual SST variability. My focus is on internal ocean processes (advection, mixing, and waves) and their ability to carry signals from remote places in space and time. The ventilation process (see above) has a leading part to play. There are several fundamental issues about how these control mechanisms might operate, or even be described. Interestingly, this issue is closely related to problems in solid state theory and statistical physics. These topics all have roots in the theory of non-equilibrium dynamical systems. This subject is another area of active research for me.
Teaching Rotating Stratified Fluid Dynamics
To explore and develop the use of rotating tank experiments in undergraduate teaching of oceanic and atmospheric science. I have intern opportunities for quantitative undergraduates now! (email for details).
The most recent work on this topic points out the analogies between rotating fluids and gyroscopes. See the article!
I work on this topic with the Deepak Cherian, who was an undergraduate intern in my group in 2009, Robbie Nedbor-Gross and the Weather in a Tank team based at MIT.
My work on the analogies between gyroscopes and rotating fluids are here (see the Haine & Cherian manuscript).
Biophysical Controls on CDOM
We aim to diagnose and understand the physical and biogeochemical processes affecting colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM), especially in the high latitude oceans.
I work on this topic with the Suneet Dwivedi and Carlos Del Castillo at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. We are involved with the Southern Ocean GasEx project.
Our 2012 Ocean Sciences poster is here and our latest manuscript is here.
The SOGasEx project recently won a NASA Group Achievement Award!
Much of our research involves comparing numerical circulation models with observations. I have two clusters of linux workstations to perform the demanding calculations, we also use other clusters and national supercomputer centers for our work. Please contact me for access to our model results.
Our projects are sponsored by the National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Johns Hopkins University, and the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Agency. We greatly appreciate their support! (Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of these agencies).
Current Students: Stephen Jeffress and Alex Fuller are graduate students in our group. Interested in joining us?
Current Post Docs:
Dr. Inga Koszalka is currently
working in my group. Dr. Kial Stewart joined us in January 2012. I'm also looking for other talented ambitious post
docs (or research scientists) to work on North Atlantic ocean circulation, modelling, and data
Former PhD Students:
Former Post Docs:
Cash Prizes: Since 1997
students in my group have won 6 prizes for
their research projects, most recently a Leverhulme Prize for Paul Williams. They have also published articles, or
featured, in New Scientist, Weather, newspaper articles, radio interviews, press releases, and alumni
magazines. Well done folks!
Prospective students: I look for curious, motivated and creative students who are interested in physical oceanography and have very good skills in physics, applied mathematics, fluid dynamics, and/or scientific computing. If you think you fit this description and are interested in our research please contact me directly about opportunities: I'm always looking for good students. The unique environment at EPS and in CEAFM gives unrivaled opportunities for fundamental research in physical oceanography with connections to climate dynamics and fluid mechanics. The chance to pursue a CEAFM dual-degree in another JHU department is a particular strength of our world-class program. Packages covering 100% tuition and stipend are available!
In Spring 2013 I'll teach Introductory Oceanography. In Fall 2013 I'll teach Ocean General Circulation.
Preprints & Publications
Click the links for pdf format or email me for hard copy.
My google scholar page.
Reprints are also available! (recent CV with full publication list).