URI Oceanographers Receive $424,000 Grant
from the National Science Foundation
to Study the North Atlantic Current
NARRAGANSETT, R.I. -- February 1, 2000 -- Three URI Graduate School
of Oceanography scientists have been awarded $424,000 by the National Science
Foundation to study the North Atlantic Current, an extension of the Gulf
Stream. Professor of physical oceanography Tom Rossby, and marine research
scientists Mark Prater and Huai-Min Zhang will analyze collected data in
this second phase of a research project begun in 1997 with the deployment
of ocean current measuring instruments, called RAFOS floats, along the current.
The floats drift along at depth on surfaces of constant density accurately
reflecting the movement of waters below the surface. The project is part
of a major U.S. program called the Atlantic Climate Change Experiment based
After processing the information gathered from the floats, the scientists
will map out the North Atlantic Current in the eastern North Atlantic Ocean.
They will also examine in detail the sites where physical processes may
enhance the exchange of waters along and across the Subpolar Front. This
long front separates the warm waters originating in the Gulf Stream from
the cold waters of the Labrador Sea.
In addition, Rossby and his team will measure and map out fields of
dissolved oxygen in the ocean as a result of data from oxygen sensors attached
to the RAFOS floats, an experiment that has never been attempted. Finally,
the data derived from the floats will provide scientists with records of
pressure and temperature for internal wave and tide fields.
A resident of Saunderstown, Rossby received his engineering training
in applied physics at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden,
and his Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His current research
interests include the dynamics and kinematics of ocean currents with special
interest in the Gulf Stream and the circulation of the North Atlantic.
Prater is a physical oceanographer, presently specializing in Lagrangian
measurement techniques, the North Atlantic Current circulation from both
observational and modeling perspectives, and deep convection processes in
the Labrador Sea. He received his B.S. and M.S. in civil engineering from
Ohio State University and his Ph.D. in oceanography from the University
of Washington. He is a resident of Wakefield.
Zhang, a resident of Kingston, studies ocean circulation and mixing
processes, and interpretation of observational data using statistics, modeling,
and data assimilation. He also studies heat budget and interannual variability
with emphasis in the warm water pools. He received his B.S. in atmospheric
sciences from Peking (Beijing) University, his M.S. in atmospheric physics
from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and his Ph.D. in physical oceanography
from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The URI Graduate School of Oceanography is one of the country's largest
marine science education programs, and one of the world's foremost marine
research institutions. Founded in 1961 in Narragansett, RI, GSO serves a
community of scientists who are researching the causes of and solutions
to such problems as acid rain, global warming, air and water pollution,
oil spills, overfishing, and coastal erosion. GSO is home to the Coastal
Institute, the Coastal Resources Center, Rhode Island Sea Grant, the Ocean
Technology Center, and the National Sea Grant Depository.
Visit the URI Graduate School of Oceanography website:
For Information: Lisa Cugini, (401) 874-6642, firstname.lastname@example.org