FASTNET - Fluxes Across the Sloping Topography of the North East Atlantic

Lead Research Organisation: University of Liverpool
Department Name: Earth, Ocean and Ecological Sciences


The investigators within FASTNEt have a strong, demonstrable record of sustained publication and presentation of their research in high impact journals, international conferences and membership of scientific working groups and panels (see investigator CVs). Through the lifetime of FASTNEt and beyond, we will maintain this level of engagement with the UK and international physical oceanography communities.

FASTNEt will be an opportunity to make unprecedented seasonal observations of the dynamic ocean-shelf domain using the latest autonomous technologies. The expected leap forward in our understanding of this system will benefit all studies of shelf seas that are influenced by the adjacent ocean. Beyond the physics community, there will be particular benefit to researchers in the associated fields of:

- nutrient fluxes and cycling in shelf seas, including carbon and CO2
- biogeochemical modeling of shelf seas
- biological productivity, and research into the development of harmful algal blooms

Within the UK, there is an active cross-disciplinary approach to marine science that has matured during the Oceans 2025 program. We will ensure the wider academic benefits of FASTNEt are achieved through institutional and community events, for example the biennial UK Challenger Society Conference, which brings together researchers from different marine disciplines. We will also collaborate actively with NERC Advanced Fellows; here we identify particularly Dr M Green (Bangor) and Dr D McKee (Strathclyde) who are investigating respectively, ocean mixing and ocean optics in the context of shelf seas.

The modeling component within FASTNEt will find its main academic beneficiary with researchers at the National Centre for Ocean Forecasting (Project Partner) - with the operational forecasting aspect of NCOF giving FASTNEt a wider sphere of societal impact. We have planned regular science meetings with NCOF to ensure greatest benefit to this group. FASTNEt modeling work will also benefit academics in the MITgcm modeling community and contribute to the further development and implementation of NEMO; bringing FASTNEt data and deliverables into a wide international user community. We also see opportunities to use data from FASTNEt to benefit the development of new modeling environments such as unstructured mesh schemes like the Imperial College Ocean Model.

Internationally, we will promote FASTNEt by seeking keynote and plenary talks in major conferences. FASTNEt also has close alliances with the Oregon State University coastal and shelf seas research group (through Co-I Boyd and Dale); one of the leading US groups in ocean-shelf oceanography. More broadly, we will extend the academic reach of FASTNEt through our involvement with the Scientific Committee on Ocean Research (SCOR) Working Group #129 dedicated to Ocean-shelf exchanges (where Co-I Sharples is a member). Through association with this Working Group we aim to bring FASTNEt within this active international forum of oceanographic research projects and groups. Two particular international science frameworks that offer excellent opportunities for cross disciplinary working with FASTNEt are 'Land Ocean Interactions in the Coastal Zone' (LOICZ) and 'Integrated Marine Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem Research' (IMBER).

Planned Impact

Four objectives underpin our aim of constructing a new paradigm of Ocean/Shelf exchange:

1. To determine the seasonality of physical gradients and exchange across the shelf edge by deploying new observational technologies (Gliders, Autosub Long Range) and established techniques (long term moorings, drifters).

2. To quantify key exchange mechanisms and to collect new data targeted at testing and improving high resolution models of the shelf edge, by carrying out detailed process studies in contrasting regions of the shelf edge of the NE Atlantic margin

3. To develop a new parameterisation of shelf edge exchange processes suitable for regional-scale models, using improved resolution numerical, and new empirical models constrained by the observations.

4. To test the new parameterisations in a regional model in the context of making an assessment of inter-annual variability of ocean-shelf exchange.


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Hall R (2013) Internal Wave Reflection on Shelf Slopes with Depth-Varying Stratification in Journal of Physical Oceanography

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Spingys C (2020) Internal Tide-Driven Tracer Transport Across the Continental Slope in Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans

Description To be provided by lead PI.
Exploitation Route To be provided by lead PI.
Sectors Environment