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Alex Dickinson

Alex Dickinson

Oceanography PhD student

Physical Oceanography and Reflection Seismology

Bullard Laboratories, Department of Earth Sciences, Madingley Rise, Madingley Road,
Cambridge CB3 0EZ, UK

Office Phone: 33400

Research Interests

My work centres around seismic oceanography, the application of marine seismic reflection profiling to the imaging of thermohaline structure within the oceans. Seismic oceanographic images have spatial resolutions on the order of 10 m in both the horizontal and the vertical, providing images of fine structure unprecedented in their detail and their ability to resolve features such as fronts and eddies. Interpretation in terms of temperature, salinity and density permits the identification of water masses and estimation of dynamical quantities such as geostrophic velocities and diapycnal diffusivities.

I have focussed on data from the northern Gulf of Mexico, where a highly stratified water column exhibits bright reflections in the upper 1000 m. Initial estimates of diapycnal diffusivities suggest that the environment is largely quiescent, with possible elevated mixing rates at a depth of around 600 m.

I am also working on three-dimensional seismic data acquired in the Faroe-Shetland Channel over five years. The exploration of three-dimensional seismic datasets opens up the exciting possibilities of resolving fine structure in three dimensions and answering fundamental fluid dynamical questions. For instance, to what extent, and at what length-scales, is the ocean horizontally isotropic? The high resolution of such seismic data, and the wealth of legacy data available from the hydrocarbon exploration industry, has the potential to revolutionise our understanding of the oceans.

Research Supervision

I am supervised by Professor Nicky White and Professor Colm-cille Caulfield.