Whittle Estimation for Lagrangian Trajectories - Regional Analysis and Environmental Consequences

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Statistical Science


This proposal will develop new methodology for summarising the spatial information obtained from analysing multiple time series of spatial trajectories. The project will involve adapting recent methodology by the applicants for the analysis of single time series trajectories, to develop the coherent analysis of multiple trajectories observed in a given spatial region. From these advances, summaries of regional spatial structure will be proposed, as well as methods for assessing the uncertainty inherent to such summaries. In particular, as a testbed, such will be implemented for regional sets of oceanographic observations from the Global Drifter Program, which contributes to providing deeper understanding of ocean circulation and its impact on climate change. The main scope of this proposal is therefore to test the feasibility of aggregate statistical analysis of the spatial information contained in multiple sets of trajectory observations. It is an ambitious research project which, if successful, would open the door to a wide set of applications such as ecology, oceanography and traffic management.

Planned Impact

To ensure direct and concrete impact of the work proposed in this project, there are a number of specific planned mechanisms of engagement. We will form a strong collaborative link with the Atlantic Oceanographic & Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) through Dr Lumpkin. AS will visit Dr Lumpkin at AOML to facilitate this collaboration and transfer of knowledge, as noted in the Justification for Resources. We will also use existing links such as Dr Lilly and Dr Early at NorthWest Research Associates (NWRA), and build new connections with researchers in ocean data at the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) in Southampton - such as Dr Frajka-Williams. AS has already been invited to present to the group there this year which will initiate this partnership.

AS will present findings to statisticians at the RSS International Conference in 2014 (see Justification for Resources). This contributes to informing the statistical community of the methodological advances made. Further to this, the results will be presented in other platforms at a cost which is value added from SO's leadership fellowship. For example, work developed in this project will be part of our presentation in the 2014 Ocean Sciences Meeting, and work will be presented by SO at specialist conferences after this grant. The investigators will also present work at meetings and conferences, within mathematics, statistics and signal processing. We will disseminate broadly to statisticians who will necessarily be working in other fields, promoting the chances of wider impact in other fields such as ecology, epidemiology, and citizen science, to which our work is relevant to their studies.

Finally, we will maintain code developed from this programme and post it on SO's group web pages. This will provide a gateway for more general engagement.
Description The key findings have been developing mathematical methods to uncover unusual coupled behaviour. This will help us to characterise regionally local drifter behaviour. This can help us get a better understanding of global circulation, and uncover high frequency properties.
Exploitation Route Other oceanographers will use these analysis techniques to uncover local patterns and features. This is already happening, e.g. Kathleen Dohan (NASA/ESR) is
inputting revised damping estimates in OSCAR.
Sectors Environment

Description Kathleen Dohan (NASA/ESR) is inputting revised damping estimates in OSCAR. GDP programme developments via Rick Lumpkin & Renellys Perez (AOML, NOAA), and Pascal Lelong (UW). Various public communication activities at the Natural History Museum, UCL Lunch Hour Lecture, Winton Capital etc.
First Year Of Impact 2018
Sector Environment
Description UCL Science Centre for Schools- mathematical patterns in nature 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact This is a UCL institution-it reaches 100s of A-level students who want to learn about science.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.ucl.ac.uk/physics-astronomy/outreach/science-lectures