Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Scientist Profile: Dhruv Balwada

Today we spoke to Dhruv, who has spent much of the cruise busily helping the tracer team with their work in the container.

Where are you are studying?

I am a second year PhD student at Florida State University working with Kevin Speer. My current research is related to understanding how the numerous eddies and jets in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) control the mixing.

What is your involvement is with the DIMES project?

My involvement with the DIMES project has been related to processing the RAFOS float trajectories. These density layer following floats were deployed along with a tracer at key sites in the ACC to get a picture of the effect of eddies and jets. Each float has a story to tell about where it went, how fast it went, what kind of events it witnessed during its time in the water, did it get stuck in situations out of which it was hard to get out and a lot more. Each story is very interesting in itself, but we need to combine all the stories together and then an image starts to emerge. This image gives us an idea about the mixing rates, the scales of flow, where the dominant patches of energy are located, what eddies do to fluid particles and a lot more. In a few words, I do processing, analysis and statistics on Lagrangian (flow-following) particles to get estimates of mixing regimes at play in the region.

What do you personally want to get out of this cruise?

For me this cruise is a learning experience about going to sea and how research cruises operate. It also gives me to opportunity to see first hand how the data are collected for both the tracer and microstructure components of DIMES. I have been working with the tracer team and have gained experience in sampling and analyzing sea water for the tracer and a few other CFCs.

What do you enjoy about going to sea?

I enjoy the rocking motion of the ship, it’s like being on a never ending amusement park ride! It also gives us oceanographers the opportunity to get closer to our element.

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