A key part of iAtlantic’s work is gaining better understanding of Atlantic Ocean circulation, how this might change over time, and what impact any change would have on deep- and open-ocean ecosystems. To do this, scientists use a combination of ocean measurements, ocean models and specialist computer modelling techniques.
On 21-23 January 2020, the iAtlantic training workshop on “OGCM Analyses and Lagrangian Modelling Techniques” took place at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Germany. Fourteen participants from a range of disciplines and backgrounds, from observational and modelling physical oceanography to biology, were taught by modelling specialist Arne Biastoch and his team about how to analyse data from Atlantic ocean models.
Ocean General Circulation Models (OGCM) are used to predict the 3D evolution of ocean currents and patterns of temperature and salinity, over the full depth of the ocean across the globe. These model outputs can be used to examine potential future changes in oceanographic conditions in particular areas of the ocean in response to factors such as climate change.
Within iAtlantic, GEOMAR provides output from its high-resolution ocean models, VIKING and INALT, to support a number of the project’s key tasks: i) for the analysis of ocean current variability, ii) to provide boundary conditions for the ultra-high-resolution ocean models of iAtlantic’s study regions such as the planned Walvis Ridge model developed to support the iMirabilis expedition later this year, or iii) for regional and basin-wide studies of how larvae spread around the ocean. This training event aimed at building capacity within the iAtlantic team to broaden expertise and maximise the use of model data in a range of project activities.
One specialist technique used in understanding ocean dynamics is Lagrangian modelling, which enables us to look at how particles move around the ocean. This is particularly important for understanding what impact changing ocean circulation will have on the dispersal of larvae, and therefore on the connectivity and genetic health of particular ecosystems. such as corals or hydrothermal vent species.
With data and example programming scripts hosted on a central platform, workshop participants were trained on their specific scientific settings and undertook scientific analyses using the high-end model data provided. Individual workflows and analysis strategies were discussed, marking the start of enhanced collaboration within the different research groups in iAtlantic.