pol annual report 2006-2007

pol annual report 2006-2007
The Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory (POL) is a research
centre wholly owned by the Natural Environment Research
Council (NERC). Its main areas of research are sea-level and
allied science, the physics of the shelf and slope seas,
marine observation and modelling systems, and data
management in POL-hosted data centres: the British
Oceanographic Data Centre (BODC) and the Permanent
Service for Mean Sea Level (PSMSL).
Applies to pages 2–27
Printed by LT Print Group Ltd using vegetable-based inks on paper sourced from responsibly managed forests.
Cover: Recovery of sediment transport and boundary layer equipment (STABLE III) at the mouth of the Dee Estuary.
Photo: Chris Balfour.
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ISBN: 978-1-85531-237-1
POL Annual Report 2006–07
Director’s introduction
On the level?
The ever-changing sea
Measuring up
In the mix
Shifting sands
The numbers game
An eye on the ocean
National and international facilities
The National Tidal and Sea Level Facility
British Oceanographic Data Centre
The Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level
Putting science to work
The Applications Team
Science and society
Publications list
Staff list
POL Annual Report 2006–07
This report covers a period of
transition. Throughout the year POL,
and six other UK marine laboratories,
prepared, presented and received
funding for their Oceans 2025 science
proposals. Oceans 2025 is a five-year
NERC marine strategic research
programme which started on 1 April
2007. The funding that POL won for
participation in Oceans 2025 allows us
to build on our excellent research on
the physics of shelf and coastal seas,
sea-level science and data
management. It also enables us to start
some exciting new projects. One
initiative applies our expertise in the
study of sea level, circulation and tides
of the coastal and shelf seas of Northwestern Europe to similar problems in
Arctic shelf seas. Arguably, there is no
other place on the planet that so
dramatically signals global warming
than the Arctic. Here there has been a
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rapid year-on-year decline of the area
covered by summer sea ice over the
last decade. What will be the impact
on global climate of an Arctic with
almost no summer sea ice?
I am pleased to report the two
marine national facilities hosted by
POL – the Permanent Service for
Mean Sea Level (PSMSL) and the
British Oceanographic Data Centre
(BODC) – received ringing
endorsements from the Oceans 2025
reviewers. As a result both will be able
to modestly expand their activities.
For PSMSL, the range of sea-levelrelated data they manage will increase,
as will the number of tide gauges,
particularly in Africa. BODC will use
their extra funding to manage the
wide range of marine data collected by
the British Antarctic Survey and the
Sea Mammal Research Unit.
POL Annual Report 2006–07
Setting up
partnerships is a
key to progress in
tackling the ‘big
science’ questions in
marine science, because
these questions are all, by
their nature, interdisciplinary. For
example, understanding the relative
importance of the factors that
contribute to sea-level change and
developing a model to predict sea level
at regional scales over decades to a
century is inherently a
multidisciplinary problem. So too are
the problems related to the impact of
global warming on the sediment
transport and ecosystems in shelf and
coastal seas – this report updates you
on our progress here.NERC research
centres are uniquely placed within the
UK to support long-term monitoring
of the environment. For the marine
environment, long-term recording
provides a basis for quantifying the
impact of climate change. POL is at
the forefront of this work. With
support from the NERC-RAPID
programme we are collaborating with
the Bedford Institute of
Oceanography. Together, we are
deploying instrumented moorings at
43°N on the western North Atlantic
shelf and slope to record the
(MOC). The
programme is
exploring the feasibility of
measuring the North Atlantic
MOC in real time, with a view to
getting prompt warning if its strength
decreases which may be in response to
global warming. A reduction in the
MOC is likely to cool the climate of
North-western Europe.
The POL Liverpool Bay Coastal
Observatory (COBS) celebrates five
years of continuous operation in 2007,
making it one of the longestfunctioning operational oceanography
systems in Europe. A dedicated
website displays near real-time data
and fine-resolution model predictions
of currents, waves and tides in the
eastern Irish Sea. From this synthesis
of information we can begin to learn
how global warming is affecting this
economically important region. COBS
is an important source of data for the
Department for Environment, Food
and Rural Affairs (Defra) Marine
Climate Change Impact Partnership
(MCCIP). Looking a year or two
ahead, we expect COBS will provide a
wide range of data to the Marine
Monitoring Office (MMO) to be
established by Defra. The MMO will
oversee the licensing of UK coastal
and shelf seas for a wide range of uses.
These include offshore wind power,
extraction of hydrocarbons and
creating designated protected marine
habitats. There is no doubt that
operational oceanography systems
such as COBS have come of age. They
play an ever-increasing role in such
diverse areas as maritime search and
rescue, pollution tracking, marine
ecosystem management, the design of
offshore wind- and wave-power
devices and naval operations.
As ever, I would like to thank you,
our stakeholders and members of the
public for your continued interest and
support of our work. Over the last
year, our Information and
Communications Group have taken
on the major task of revamping our
website, and a splendid job they have
made of it too. This website offers a
window into the wide range of
strategic science undertaken at POL. I
welcome your views about how
effectively the site conveys this
information, and indeed, your
feedback about this report.
Andrew Willmott
1. We have excellence in four distinct areas:
sea level science; numerical modelling of
ocean margins; science, engineering, and
technology for in situ ocean observation;
marine data management.
2. Prof Andrew Willmott.
POL Annual Report 2006–07
Since 1933, the Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level at POL
has collected and published sea-level data from an
international network of tide gauges (page 23). From the
1990s, POL and the Institute of Engineering Surveying and
Space Geodesy at the University of Nottingham have been
measuring changes in UK land levels. We use this information
to predict the effects of climate change on sea levels.
On the LEVEL?
Changes in global and regional sea and land levels
Noisy satellites
DORIS (Détermination d’Orbite et
Radiopositionnement Intégrés par
Satellite) is a French system of
satellites and ground-based stations
built in the early 1990s to track
altimetry satellites. Since then, its
applications have expanded to include,
among others, precise positioning of
these ground stations. To celebrate 15
years of this system, and the recent
creation of the International DORIS
Service, a special issue of the Journal
of Geodesy on DORIS was
commissioned. Simon Williams, with
Pascal Willis at the Institut
Géographique National, took part in
this by analysing 12 years of DORIS
data to try to understand the nature of
the noise in the ground station
position timeseries. They used six
alternative models in 12 different
combinations as possible descriptions
of the noise. Simon and Pascal found
the data set as a whole is best
described as a combination of white
noise plus flicker noise. The white
noise depends on site latitude and the
number of DORIS-equipped satellites
used. The latitude dependence is
largest in the east component because
of the near-polar orbit of the SPOT
(Earth Observation System) satellites.
The amount of flicker noise is similar
in all three components – [northsouth, east-west (horizontal), and
vertical (up-down)]. This suggests
that, with DORIS, we can detect
movement of the ground to 1mm a
year after collecting 12 years of data.
This accuracy in the vertical
component is similar to that achieved
using data from the more famous
Global Positioning System (GPS).
However, it takes DORIS twice as
long as GPS to reach 1mm-a-year
precision in the horizontal direction.
1. South Atlantic DORIS stations at Ascension, St Helena, Tristan de Cunha, and Rothera.
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Courtesy of the International DORIS Service.
POL Annual Report 2006–07
Volcanoes cool the atmosphere
Miguel Maqueda and Svetlana
Jevrejeva created a very simple model
of the atmosphere and the upper
ocean to study the response of sea
level to atmospheric cooling caused by
a large volcanic eruption. Aerosols
emitted during a volcanic eruption
partly reflect sunlight, thus causing
surface cooling. This cooling has two
important effects on sea level. First, as
the upper ocean cools its density
increases, thus tending to lower sea
levels. Second, as the air becomes
colder it retains less water vapour. The
excess water is released onto the ocean,
thus tending to raise sea levels.
Whether the overall effect of a
volcanic eruption will be to increase or
decrease sea level will depend on
which of these two effects dominates.
Monitoring tsunamis
Peter Foden, Simon Holgate and Jeff
Pugh have developed a system that
sends real-time data from tide gauges
almost anywhere in the world. It will
form part of the Indian Ocean
Tsunami Monitoring System of the
Intergovernmental Oceanographic
Commission. This is, in part, a
response to the devastating Sumatra
tsunami on 26 December 2004. The
system links sea-level sensors to a tiny
Linux-based computer. This relays
one-minute samples of tide gauge-data
over Inmarsat’s Broadband Global
Area Network every five minutes. A
secure private link means a delay of
In the modelling study, Miguel and
Svetlana showed that sea level is likely
to rise in equatorial and tropical
regions, while it is likely to fall at midlatitudes.
2. Activity at Cleveland Volcano, Aleutian
Islands, Alaska, 26 May 2006. Courtesy of
the Image Science & Analysis Laboratory,
NASA Johnson Space Center. ISS013-E24184.JPG (http://eol.nasa.gov).
3. How the sea level changes before and
after a volcanic eruption occurring in year
20 of the model run.
only a couple of seconds between
sending and receiving data. In
addition, the system enables POL to
communicate with the tide gauges
over the internet, allowing remote
upgrading and fault-finding – thus
saving on costly field visits.
4. A schematic illustration
showing how data are
transmitted to tsunami
and sea-level centres
using Inmarsat’s
Broadband Global Area
Network (BGAN).
Photographs show: a
radar tide gauge, and
Jeff Pugh connecting the
Liverpool radar tide
gauge to an Inmarsat
BGAN transmitter. The
globe image (Courtesy
World Wind/NASA Earth
Observatory) shows the
existing Indian Ocean
Tsunami Warning System
POL Annual Report 2006–07
To design effective coastal defences, or identify places likely
to flood, we need to predict areas at risk from occasional but
unusually high sea levels. Engineers often design coastal
defences to withstand extreme sea levels that occur only
once every hundred years on average, when the surge caused
by a major storm coincides with a large spring tide. We are
finding out which areas of the UK could be most at risk in the
The ever-changing
Sea-level variability and extremes
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Improving flood warning
Storm surges are the response of the
sea surface to strong winds and low
atmospheric pressure. They can raise
sea level by 2–3m over an area of
hundreds of square kilometres. Storm
surges are an important factor in
coastal flooding, and POL scientists
developed the computer models which
are used operationally for coastal flood
warning. These models run four times
a day on supercomputers at the UK
Met Office,
predictions up
to two days
ahead. Jane
Williams has
produced a
new version of
the surge
model, called
CS3X. This
extends further
south and west
than previous
models and
enables a better
response to
west of Ireland.
The new
model also has
better tidal performance.
The same computer models can be
used to investigate the behaviour of
sea level in response to winds in a
future climate. Chris Wilson and
Kevin Horsburgh are working with
scientists at the Hadley Centre for
Climate Prediction and Research to
estimate extreme sea levels around the
UK coastline at the end of the
POL Annual Report 2006–07
Where will tsunamis hit?
Following the Sumatra-Andaman
earthquake of 26 December 2004,
POL contributed to a Defra-funded
tsunami risk assessment, which
concluded there is low risk to the UK
and northern Europe. Further work by
Chris Wilson and Kevin Horsburgh
shows what happens when tsunamis
move over wide continental shelves
(like the one surrounding northern
Europe). Here, seabed features such as
canyons and seamounts can interact
with the waves and form complex
intensified patterns. The results are
locally variable wave heights around
affected coastlines.
Chris and Kevin examined six
possible scenarios of tsunamis
emanating from the Azores-Gibraltar
Fault Zone. This was the source of the
earthquake and resulting tsunami that
destroyed the
city of Lisbon on
1 November
1755. They
found that small
changes in the
initial conditions
can cause the
path of the
tsunami to split,
impacts. Their
research shows
that wide continental shelves act like a
suit of armour. They protect the
neighbouring coastline by reflecting
and spreading much of the tsunami
energy before it is intensified locally.
This work
highlights the
that must be
when trying
to model
impacts in
other parts of
the world
where the risk
is greater.
1. Storm at New Brighton, Wirral. Courtesy of
Wirral Globe.
2. Cotidal chart from the CS3X numerical
3. Predicted elevations in the Celtic Sea. These
result from a hypothetical tsunami
originating off the west coast of Portugal
caused by an earthquake of magnitude 8.7 –
the same as the 1755 Lisbon tsunami. The
figure shows the results five hours after the
4. Maximum wave height around the Cornish
coast resulting from the same tsunami as
figure 2.
5. Average surge height in metres (white
contours) and spread of ensemble
predictions (colours) from the 24 simulations.
If at first you don’t succeed . . .
Computer predictions of sea level are
not perfect. Uncertainties are inherent
because of inaccuracies in the forecast
wind strength and the supposed water
depth, and the real world is far more
complicated than our mathematical
assumptions. Forecasters and managers
expect some error in predictions, but
can control this by understanding the
size of such errors and the
circumstances in which they occur.
One way to quantify the range of
uncertainty is to perform several
different versions of a simulation – a
so-called ensemble forecast. Working
with partners in the Met Office, Jane
Williams, Kevin Horsburgh and Chris
Wilson have helped develop a set of
24 similar simulations to help predict
surges. The spread of the results from
the simulations indicates how
successful the forecast might be. The
figure above simultaneously shows the
average surge height and the variations
in the 24 simulations. The surge
simulation system has run
experimentally over the autumn and
winter of 2006 and will become
operational after full validation in
winter 2007–08.
POL Annual Report 2006–07
It is difficult to find out about the ocean beneath its surface,
where satellites cannot see and sampling is only occasionally
possible. POL scientists, led by Chris Hughes, are using
continuous measurements from carefully chosen sites to
improve our understanding of the deep. POL technologists, led
by Peter Foden, are using novel instruments to make these
measurements, and designing new equipment to meet
evolving needs.
Measuring UP
Continuous ocean measurement methods
Antarctica – early
warning of climate change
The world’s largest ocean current, the
Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC),
flows to the east around Antarctica. It
connects the major ocean basins, and
acts as a barrier, partially insulating
Antarctica from climate change.
Recording the strength of this current is
important as a measure of climate
variability in the Southern Hemisphere.
Tide gauges record sea-level signals at
three bases on the Antarctic Peninsula
(Rothera, Vernadsky and Rada
Covadonga). Philip Woodworth and
colleagues are studying these signals
which, when corrected for the direct
influence of atmospheric pressure, give a
good measure of the strength of the
ACC. Developments in instrument
technology and data transmission will
soon allow near real-time data
transmission from the Rothera and
Vernadsky tide gauges. This will make it
possible, during the International Polar
Year 2007–08, to attain a near real-time
measure of changes in the strength of
the ACC and get the earliest possible
warning of changes in this major
component of the southern hemisphere
climate system.
1. RRS Discovery; RapidLander – instrument recovery, and ready for deployment with tripod ballast
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POL Annual Report 2006–07
Is the Gulf Stream slowing?
Some studies, based on ocean
measurements at 26°N, suggest the
Gulf Stream and the deeper cold return
current – collectively known as the
North Atlantic Meridional Overturning
Circulation (MOC) – have slowed in
recent years. But is this just a local
variation, or is it representative of all
the North Atlantic? Chris Hughes is
leading a project which hopes to
answer these questions.
Miguel Maqueda, Rory Bingham,
Peter Foden, Steve Mack and Jeff Pugh
have recently recovered the first data
from instruments along the
US/Canadian continental slope. The
instruments are part of the West
Atlantic Variability Experiment
(WAVE) array extending up to
latitudes of 43°N. Miguel and his team
recovered two years of data from each
of eight ocean-bottom pressure
recorders. Preliminary analyses show a
high degree of correlation among the
WAVE measurements. The team also
found a significant but lower
correlation with measurements from a
complementary array at 26°N. These
findings support model studies which
suggest that, to monitor the MOC, we
need measurements at positions on the
ocean’s western boundary north and
south of the point where the Gulf
Stream leaves the continental slope
(about 39°N).
Funding for this project comes from
the NERC RAPID programme for
monitoring and identifying causes of
rapid climate change.
2 Variations in the strength of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. From the top: a model simulation;
wind stress over the Southern Ocean; sea level at the south side of Drake Passage (from an
offshore bottom pressure recorder) and from the Vernadsky and Rothera tide gauges.
3. Timeseries of temperature from a WAVE array mooring. Measurements are at the seabed (red) and
then at 100m intervals towards the surface.
The sea-level connection
4. The region in which sea-level variations correlate significantly with the average of sea level along
the section marked with black spots. The shelf slope region is shown by the 1,000m and 3,000m
depth contours (black lines).
When sea level goes up or down, does
it do so over the whole world? Chris
Hughes, with Mike Meredith from the
British Antarctic Survey, has been
studying this. Looking at short-term
changes (shorter than a year, but
longer than ten days) the answer is
usually ‘no’. Out in the open ocean,
effects of eddies (the equivalent of
storms in the ocean) or meandering
currents dominate these rapid changes.
Nearer to shore, sea level is more
strongly affected by the local winds.
However, at the boundary between the
shallow shelf seas and the deeper
ocean, Chris and Mike found a quite
different behaviour. Satellite sea-level
measurements show that, in many
regions of the world, sea-level changes
are coherent over distances of
thousands of kilometres along the
shelf slope. This reflects a limit on the
influence of deep ocean processes on
sea level at the coast.
POL Annual Report 2006–07
We are finding out how shallow continental-shelf seas
respond to effects of climate and human activity such as
pollution and increased nutrients. We are researching how
the open ocean affects shelf seas and how shelf seas
exchange water and its contents with the ocean.
In the MIX
Water movement in shelf seas
Life on the edge
The edge of the continental shelf is
where the shallows of the shelf sea
plunge to the abyssal depths of the
ocean. The sudden change in water
depth causes internal waves to form
along the thermocline. These waves mix
nutrients from deeper water towards the
surface. Plankton grow here because of
this nutrient supply; the plankton then
provide food for fish; and this leads to
much fishing-boat activity at the shelf
edge. Jonathan Sharples, with colleagues
from the Universities of Bangor,
Southampton and Essex, undertook a
research cruise at the shelf edge of the
Celtic Sea to study this mixing. They
found that plankton depend on changes
in mixing over the fortnightly spring
and neap tides. Strong mixing during
spring tides supplies nutrients to the
surface water. Weaker mixing at neap
tides allows the plankton to absorb the
nutrients and grow in the sunlight near
the sea surface. This fortnightly pulsing
of plankton growth is important in our
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understanding of the biological
productivity of shelf-edge regions and
the fish that they support.
POL Annual Report 2006–07
Modelling mixing over seabed bumps
Internal waves travel along the
thermocline that separates the warm
surface ocean from the deeper water.
They are important because they mix
heat, nutrients, and plankton between
the deep water and the surface layer.
Short, high-frequency waves are much
better at mixing than longer, lowfrequency waves. Jiuxing Xing and
Alan Davies have been using a highresolution numerical model to study
how these internal waves are produced
as tidal currents flow over different
shapes of sills and banks on the seabed.
They found that steep banks produce
more short internal waves just
downstream of the bank. This is likely
to be important for localised mixing.
They are now using the model to study
how and where mixing takes place over
banks such as those found in the Celtic
Sea. Their results will be used to plan
experiments for a major research cruise
in summer 2008.
1 Top: a satellite image of sea-surface chlorophyll (showing density of phytoplankton), taken during
the 2005 research cruise. A clear band of chlorophyll lies along the shelf edge (black lines).
Bottom: a vertical slice of the chlorophyll measured from the research ship while sailing along the
course marked by the white line in the satellite image.
2. Model results showing how two seabed
bumps cause internal waves. The sharper
seabed bump produces more internal
waves on the isotherms (coloured lines).
3. Sea surface temperature measured by
satellite in September 2005. The arrow
shows the path of the North Atlantic
Water. The circle is the position at which
the data was collected from the research
Measuring ocean mixing
The Faroe-Shetland Channel is an
important passageway for the exchange
of water between the North Atlantic
and Arctic Oceans. A permanent
thermocline dominates the temperature
in the Channel. It separates warm
North Atlantic water, flowing
northward against the continental
slope, from deeper waters flowing
southward from the Arctic Ocean and
Norwegian Sea.
Turbulent mixing
through the
thermocline alters
the temperature
and saltiness of
these waters, which
can then affect
ocean circulation.
When turbulence
occurs, small eddies
raise parcels of
dense water so they
lie above less dense
water. Higherdensity water
sitting on top of
lower-density water
creates instability. One method of
calculating the rate of mixing is to
measure the size of these density
instabilities; the larger the instability the
greater the rate of mixing. Rob Hall has
been analysing 25 vertical temperature
and salinity profiles collected in the
Channel from the research ship F. S.
Poseidon during September 2005. He
found that in the thermocline, the rate
of mixing was over ten times greater
than the background mixing in the
open ocean. This strong mixing may be
driven by internal waves created as
currents flow over the continental slope
or over the nearby Wyville-Thompson
Ridge (a seabed feature).
4. The region in which sea-level variations
correlate significantly with the average of
sea level along the section marked with
black spots. The shelf slope region is
shown by the 1,000m and 3,000m depth
contours (black lines).
POL Annual Report 2006–07
Increasingly, for economic, environmental and aesthetic
reasons, managers and engineers are choosing to let our
coastlines evolve naturally. To do this effectively, we have to
be able to predict future changes to the coastline.
Shifting SANDS
Predicting sediment movement around our coasts
Protecting our coastline
A series of breakwaters runs parallel to
the shore off the beach at Sea Palling in
East Anglia. They are a coastal defence
that protects the local beach. They help
to prevent coastal floods like the
devastating east-coast floods of 1953
that killed 307 people – seven from Sea
Palling. Judith Wolf and Peter Thorne
led a team in a broad-based study of the
area, using some of the most up-to-date
types of instrument for recording
sediment movement. During three field
campaigns totalling 18 weeks they
collected a comprehensive data set. This
includes X-band radar to map the wave
field and seabed changes; wave
measurements from seabed landers and
measurements of current flow, sediment
transport and seabed ripples. We are
now using these datasets to help us
understand and predict how shoreparallel breakwaters perform and how
they protect our coastline.
This is part of a study, funded by the
Engineering and Physical Sciences
Research Council (EPSRC) and led by
Dr Shunqi Pan of the University of
Plymouth, which also includes
collaboration with University of East
Anglia. For more information see:
leacoast2/. See also page 21.
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POL Annual Report 2006–07
Sound and light
In a recent study measuring sediments,
Pete Thorne worked with US scientists
Yogi Agrawal, Sequoia Scientific Inc
and David Cacchione, Coastal and
Marine Environments. By combining
light and sound they measured
sediments moving just above the
seabed off the California coast at Santa
Cruz. Using a laser they recorded
suspended sediment concentrations.
At the same time they also measured
suspended sediment with an acoustic
technique using sound. They
compared the optical and acoustical
measurements. The results (see
publications list, page 33) show that
combining these two technologies
produces overlapping and
complementary sets of data, so
increasing our confidence in the
measurements and extending the
range of observations we can make.
1. Aerial photograph of the breakwaters at
Sea Palling, East Anglia.
2. David Cacchione prepares the optical
instruments at Santa Cruz, California.
3. Deployment of optical instruments at Santa
4. Distribution of sediment concentration and
salinity through the water column in the
Dee Estuary. The top and bottom panels
show fine and coarse sediment distribution.
Blue is low concentration and red is high.
The middle panel shows salinity: fresher
water is blue, and saltier, red.
Sediments in estuaries
The coastal and sediment team, headed
by Alex Souza, now has a basic
understanding of suspended sediment
processes in the Dee Estuary. The
suspended sediments in the estuary are a
result of a fine balance between
advection, sediment aggregation, and
resuspension. The fresh water that comes
from the River Dee has a low
concentration of sediments. The
sediments that are present are in large
aggregates. At POL’s mooring location,
sediment is most highly concentrated at
the time the fresh water arrives,
suggesting that strong convection occurs
in the fresh-water front, allowing the
sediment to cover the entire water
column. The process occurs four times a
day because of resuspension by the
strongest tidal rrents (flood and ebb –
each twice daily).
Sounding out
Seven days a week, 24 hours a
day, tides and currents carry
sediments around the world’s
coastlines, continuously
changing the boundary between
land and sea. At POL we use
sound to study this process of
sediment transport, probing the
fundamental mechanisms of
sediment movement. To use
sound for these studies we must
understand how it interacts with
suspensions of marine
sediments. Pete Thorne, with
Ramazan Meral from
Kahramanmaras Sütçü Imam
University, Turkey, has worked on
this. They have collected and
analysed all the published data –
from the past 40 years – on
scattering of sound by sandy
sediments. They aim to establish
universal rules for the acoustic
scattering properties of these
sediments. These expressions
should help everyone using
acoustics to study sediment
transport processes and so to
better interpret backscatter data
collected over sandy beds.
POL Annual Report 2006–07
Computer modelling is a core activity in developing models
for use in coastal seas and neighbouring oceans, and for
increasingly multi-disciplinary use. POLCOMS (Proudman
Oceanographic Laboratory Coastal-Ocean Modelling System)
continues to be the framework under which we develop
these models. New advances keep this system at the
forefront of European modelling.
Advanced numerical modelling
Step by step
Computer models such as the
POL Coastal-Ocean Modelling
System (POLCOMS)
incorporate much of our
understanding of the physics of
the sea. POLCOMS takes the
conditions in the sea at one
instant and the external
factors that affect it, such as
air temperature and winds,
and steps them forward a
short time to show how the
sea conditions are
developing. The
conditions may include
currents, tides,
temperature and
salinity. As the model
repeats this process we
build up a picture of the changing
state of the seas, which may range
from days (showing the tides), to years
(showing heating and cooling with the
seasons), to decades (showing climate
change). Alongside physical properties
we also study biological and chemical
properties, including suspended mud
and sand.
1. UK west coast mean autumn circulation from the POLCOMS High Resolution Continental Shelf
w w w. p o l . a c . u k
2. POLCOMS covers the entire north-west European continental shelf and the open ocean as far
as Iceland.
POL Annual Report 2006–07
Up-river surge modelling
In a continuing effort to better
understand storm surges around the
UK, Eric Jones applied the TELEMAC
model to the seas west of Great Britain.
This model can focus down to fine
scales using an unstructured grid made
of varying sizes of triangles, rather than
the regular rectangular grid commonly
used. Eric simulated several events,
from simple tides to wind effects to full
realistic surges – such as in Liverpool
Bay in 1977. He examined the results
compared with existing rectangular
grid simulations and other
unstructured grid models. They show
the advantages of this unstructured grid
in providing fine near-coastal detail.
As a new development, Eric extended
the unstructured grid – at fine
resolution of about 120m – to include
the River Mersey up to its tidal limit.
He performed the first fully realistic
surge simulation for the UK west coast
to include surge motion within a river.
With the unstructured grid, external
boundary conditions of tide and surge
are applied near the shelf edge, rather
than at the river mouth. The results
show that an accurate representation of
the seabed – as given by an
unstructured grid – is important for
the correct simulation of a storm surge.
Our changing seas
To study recent climate change,
Graham Tattersall used POLCOMS
data to examine temperature and
salinity changes in the north-west
European shelf seas from 1960 to
1999. By using long timeseries
observations and databases of
measurements, he built up a picture of
how our seas are changing. The model
results show an average warming of
0.1ºC over a decade in UK coastal
waters with a more pronounced
increase of up to 0.5ºC a decade in
the southern North Sea [figure 4]. The
model comparison [figure 5] shows
how well POLCOMS performs
against measurements from the
International Council for the
Exploration of the Sea (ICES). Green
areas show that POLCOMS
reproduces the observed temperature
to within 0.5ºC. The model performs
less well in the central North Sea
where its estimates are too warm; in
the north-eastern Atlantic they are too
cold. We are now using POLCOMS
to find out if (i) the measured changes
are because of a change in the
temperature and salinity of the
Atlantic Ocean or if (ii) changes in air
temperature, wind, cloud cover,
rainfall and river flow are responsible.
The POLCOMS High Resolution
Continental Shelf Model is the
model with the finest resolution
so far to simulate the circulation,
temperature and salinity of the
north European continental shelf.
It has the resolution (about one
nautical mile) to include smallscale density-driven features,
and coverage to include largescale circulation across the shelf.
Using HPCx’s national computer
facility, Jason Holt ran the model
to simulate the seasonal cycle of
2001. With a series of
experiments he separated the
model currents into components
driven by winds, by changes in
density and by the North Atlantic
(including tides). It was thought
the winds dominated the longterm circulation for most of the
year. However, the results show
how important the density
circulation is for a much greater
part of the year and over a wider
area than expected. The reason?
The density currents are small,
but, like the net tidal transport,
they always act in the same
direction. The winds, on the other
hand, drive stronger currents but
are much more variable in
direction. These results are
important for our understanding
of how nutrients, pollutants, and
dissolved carbon are carried in
the shelf seas; their
consequences for the approach
to managing the marine
environment as an ecosystem;
and the role of shelf seas in the
carbon cycle.
3. River Mersey unstructured grid model
surge heights (in metres), for the Liverpool
Bay storm surge of 11–12 November 1977.
4. POLCOMS average surface temperature
change in ºC a decade over the last 40
5. Difference between POLCOMS modelled
and ICES recorded surface temperature
POL Annual Report 2006–07
Our Coastal Observatory – in the Liverpool Bay area of the
Irish Sea – is set up to investigate the environment of a
typical coastal sea. We are developing and testing our
combined new system that gathers, forecasts and displays
measurements in real time.
An eye on the
The Coastal Observatory
enquiries to mjh@pol.ac.uk or visit: http://coastobs.pol.ac.uk
Collecting measurements
The Liverpool Bay
Coastal Observatory
consists of
numerical modelling
and a web display.
The main
elements are:
readings taken at the
mooring sites at
regular intervals;
instrumented ferry;
shore-based highfrequency radar for
surface currents,
waves and winds;
and spatial surveys of
water column
properties nine times
a year. Most of the
data are collected in
near real-time and
displayed on the
website. Measurements, now funded
to at least March 2012, began in
August 2002. A modest expansion is
planned over the next few years – a
third mooring site in the western Irish
Sea, an underwater glider and more
instrumented ferries.
This year we present the
distributions of temperature, salinity
and average currents in Liverpool Bay.
1. Water depths (below mean tide level) in Liverpool Bay, and the 34 stations (crosses) where
temperature and salinity are measured.
2. Average near-bed salinity, August 2002–March 2007.
3. Amplitude of the seasonal cycle for depth-averaged temperature (ºC), August 2002–March 2007.
4. Mean currents at six heights above the seabed. Site A, 7 August 2002–14 April 2007, at the Mersey
Bar; and site B, 5 April 2005–14 February 2007, to the west.
w w w. p o l . a c . u k
POL Annual Report 2006–07
Seasonal cycle
We have been measuring temperature
and salinity throughout the water
column in Liverpool Bay on a fivenautical mile grid of 34 stations [fig 1]
from the RV Prince Madog. So far, we
have made 42 sets of measurements at
intervals of four to eight weeks, from
August 2002 to March 2007. The data
return (83%) is high for continual
measurements made throughout the
year. The sole cause of missing data is
bad weather. Average values, seasonal
cycle and variable amounts of
stratification are estimated from the
measurements. Both the average
salinity near to the seabed [fig 2], and
the range of the temperature variation
over the year [fig 3], correlate
significantly with the water depth.
Seasonal cycles dominate the
temperature record, accounting for
95–98% of the total variance. These
cycles are less significant for the salinity
record and more variable spatially, with
a maximum range variation of 1.2, and
accounts for 0–57% of the variance at
any site. The maximum recorded water
temperature was 20.7ºC and the
minimum 4.9ºC.
The annual mean air temperature in
the north-west of England for 2002–06
was 1.1–1.4ºC warmer than the
average for 1961–90. This is mirrored
by the sea surface temperature at the
Mersey Bar – near the mouth of the
Mersey – being 1.1ºC warmer
compared with the mean for 1935–61.
Rainfall for the period 2002–06 was
average. Similarly, the sea-surface
salinity at the Mersey Bar is average.
The salinity here correlates best with
river flows averaged over the previous
week to fortnight.
We are measuring currents at two
sites in Liverpool Bay from three
metres above the bed to two metres
below the surface, in one-metre
slices [fig 4].
The first site, started in August 2002,
has a data return of 90% (losses
were because of cable failures). The
second, started in April 2005, has
100% data return. A reliable
telemetry link now operates from
the second site. This relays current
measurements using an underwater
acoustic modem and Orbcomm
satellite link displaying them in near
real-time on the website. In addition
we are measuring surface currents
in a grid of 103 four-km square cells,
using a shore-based high-frequency
(HF) radar system with sites at
Formby Point and Llanddulas [fig 5].
These measurements started in
August 2005, display in near realtime on the website and have an
average data return of 90%.
Different kinds of currents
5. Average surface currents in Liverpool Bay,
1 August 2005–28 March 2007. The radar
sites are shown with a red star.
The maximum recorded current in the
water column is 1.2ms-1 (1.2 metres a
second) and at the surface is 1.9ms-1.
Tidal currents predominate and are
mainly east-west (to and fro). Currents
associated with storms are much
weaker. However, over several days or
longer the even weaker average currents
are relevant to the overall movement of
water or objects.
Sites A and B [fig 4] record consistent
patterns and similar magnitudes month
in month out. These show
approximately southward and
shoreward water movement near the
bed and northward movement near the
surface. At the Mersey Bar (A) this
separation is well defined. At the
westerly site (B) the change in direction
with height above the bed is more
gradual. The average near-bed current
at the Mersey Bar site is 0.04ms-1. This
suggests that if the speed and direction
were the same everywhere – a huge
assumption – water near the bed would
take an average of about ten days to
move from the Mersey Bar site to the
north Wirral shore. The surface current
measured by radar shows a reasonably
uniform north-north-eastward
movement, slightly stronger than at the
two moored sites [fig 5].
POL Annual Report 2006–07
National and
The National Tidal and Sea Level Facility (NTSLF) is the UK
centre of excellence for all scientific matters relating to tides,
sea-level monitoring, storm surges and coastal flood
The National Tidal and
Sea Level Facility
Activities of the NTSLF
NTSLF manages tide-gauge networks
that record sea level for the UK, South
Atlantic, British Overseas Territories,
and a gauge at Gibraltar. We also
manage a geodetic network for
measuring vertical land
The accuracy and stability
of our measurements are
essential for scientific
research into long-term
changes in mean sea level
resulting from global
warming. We supply tidal
predictions, and extreme sealevel estimates, to several
agencies and local authorities
for coastal defence and flood
warning purposes.
We assess and develop new
technologies for sea-level
measurement and data
transmission. Often, sea-level
data delivery is by satellite
communication. Here our
engineers have made major
advances in the telemetry of
oceanographic data. Our web
pages provide real-time
displays of UK sea levels, and
measurements from the South Atlantic
and Gibraltar. We also keep a national
archive of quality controlled tide-gauge
and model data.
1. Stena Line Seacat ferry approaches the tide gauge at Holyhead; specialist contractors replace
pipework at Hinkley Point; tide-gauge hut at Vernadsky; and radar tide gauge at Port Stanley.
w w w. p o l . a c . u k
2. The UK tide-gauge network. UK image courtesy World Wind/NASA Earth Observatory.
POL Annual Report 2006–07
UK tide-gauge network
Tide Gauge Inspectorate staff – Dave
Smith, Les Bradley and Darryn
Gaudie – continued their programme
of refurbishment, maintenance and
repair. Visiting all 44 sites of the
National Tide Gauge Network, they
completed geodetic
levelling at 14. At
Hinkley Point,
maintenance included
removing, cleaning
and replacing the
underwater measuring
system attached to the
nuclear power station’s
water intake tower.
refurbishment at Leith included
replacing the wooden tide-gauge
building with a fibre-reinforced plastic
one. A new system, consisting of two
full-tide and one mid-tide sensor,
replaces the float gauge chart recorder.
Sampling for tsunamis
Following the Sumatra-Andaman
earthquake of 26 December 2004 and
the resultant tsunami, POL helped the
Department for Environment, Food
and Rural Affairs (Defra) in a riskassessment study. One
recommendation was a two-year
research programme into tsunami
detection and monitoring equipment.
Les Bradley, of POL’s Tide Gauge
Inspectorate, has developed the new
instrument. Installed at Holyhead by
POL’s diving team – Les, Ray Cramer
and John Mackinnon – it is now
being tested. The rapid-sampling
pressure-measuring system provides
ten readings a second – enough to see
any tsunami wave. Data relays to the
internet in real time using a mobile
phone network. Installation at
Lerwick will be later this year; at
Newlyn and Cromer in 2008. These
At Newport, collapsing fendering
destroyed the measuring system. A
temporary system – installed in the
tide-gauge stilling well – ran during
the design and making of a
replacement. The replacement is now
up and running.
We are continuing to develop a data
collection system to link with all
existing network sensors and the new
radar sensor. Improvements to site
communications are progressing, using
a mobile phone network and
3. Hinkley Point water intake tower and
nuclear power station.
4. Rapid sampling signal from Holyhead
showing the passage of a Seacat ferry.
four sites will point the way for a
feasible tsunami warning system. The
rapid sampling will also improve the
way coastal warning systems record
swell waves and storm surges.
South Atlantic network
The Southern Ocean is an important
part of the global ocean circulation,
and sea level around the Antarctic is of
particular significance to estimates of
future sea-level rise. Strategic NTSLF
sites in this region represent the UK’s
contribution to the Global Sea Level
Observing System – a major
international research initiative. During
December 2006, Geoff Hargreaves and
Steve Mack, from POL’s Ocean
Engineering and Technology Group,
carried out a series of upgrades to the
South Atlantic gauges, including:
• a replacement satellite
communications unit at Port
• servicing the tide-gauge system at
• servicing the tide-gauge system and
upgrading software at Vernadsky.
The British Antarctic Survey surveyed
King Edward Point, South Georgia, in
preparation for a new POL tide-gauge
installation planned for December
5. Vernadsky Base. The tide-gauge hut is at
the bottom centre of the picture.
POL Annual Report 2006–07
National and
The British Oceanographic Data Centre (BODC) is a national
facility for storing and distributing data concerning the marine
environment. We are part of the Intergovernmental
Oceanographic Commission’s network of data centres. The
centre provides a resource for science, education and industry,
as well as for the wider public.
The British
Data Centre
Clean and safe seas
The UK Government and
Devolved Administrations
commit themselves to having
clean, safe, healthy, biologically
diverse and productive seas. To
assess the state of the seas,
more than 80 marine stations
are monitored annually.
Measuring contaminants in
waters, sediments and biota
helps assess their distribution
and fate in the environment.
Measuring biological effects
shows the response of
organisms to contaminants,
while benthic
microinvertebrate samples give
an overall indication of
environmental health.
Working with the Clean and
Safe Seas Evidence Group as
part of the UK Marine
Monitoring and Assessment Strategy,
BODC manage the database – known
as MERMAN – that contains the
monitoring data. These data are widely
available, are transferred yearly to the
International Council for the
Exploration of the Sea, and are used for
national and international assessments
of the health of our seas. For further
information see
1. A section of the Eastern Atlantic Ocean from the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans
w w w. p o l . a c . u k
(GEBCO) Digital Atlas (www.bodc.ac.uk/projects/international/gebco/).
POL Annual Report 2006–07
Working for the marine community
Making information and knowledge
available to the marine community is a
key element of BODC’s role. We have
pioneered a proactive approach to
managing complex multi-disciplinary
oceanographic data. Rather than just
storing information, our staff collect,
calibrate, compile and check the
quality of data, from major research
programmes to individual sampling
stations. Much of the data has been
paid for by public funds. BODC stores
the information securely and promotes
its continued use.
In 2006–07, BODC:
• handled 79,861 enquiries
• received 591 sets of data from 60
organisations in 23 countries
• published the National Tidal
and Sea Level Facility annual
report for 2005
• published the DISCO project
multidisciplinary study of the
biogeochemical cycling of
dimethyl sulphide within a
coccolithophorid bloom in the
northern North Sea during
summer 1999
• launched a new web service
providing access to all data on
currents (6,102 series from 55
organisations) held in our
National Oceanographic
Database (NODB)
• provided a new facility to enable
online requests to more than
50,000 data series held in the
NODB (www.bodc.ac.uk/data/
• launched the NERC DataGrid
vocabulary web service explaining
standard terminology for
oceanographic metadata
We answered enquiries from
organisations and private individuals
engaged in leading-edge science,
students working on research projects
in universities and schools, offshore
industry impact studies, and wealth
creation, as well as requests for
information to help central and local
government meet statutory
5. Stations around the UK coastline which
are sampled annually to assess the state
of the seas. Courtesy of Defra.
3. A section of the National Oceanographic
Database interactive map showing data
series availability.
4. Instrument recovery at Sea Palling,
Norfolk – part of the LEACOAST2 project.
Our changing coast
Coastal communities are at
increasing risk from the effect
of climate change. Extensive
coastal engineering protects
key parts of eastern England.
Management plans require
understanding of how these
man-made structures shape the
seabed and shoreline.
LEACOAST2, funded by
the Engineering and Physical
Sciences Research Council,
focuses on Sea Palling,
Norfolk, home to the UK’s
largest scheme of artificial
offshore reefs (see page 12).
BODC provide the data
management support that ensures data
can be safely stored for long-term use.
We are directly involved with project
scientists; helping with the working
up, calibration and quality control of
the data; compiling the data
documentation; and assembling the
project database for use within and
beyond the project.
BODC supports Oceans 2025,
a new research programme
funded by the Natural
Environment Research Council
(www.oceans2025.org). The
programme addresses, at a
national scale, the challenges of
a changing marine
environment. This coordinated
approach from seven marine
centres, with cooperation and
input from other government
agencies and departments, will
improve our knowledge of how
the seas behave, how they are
changing, and what that might
mean for our oceans and for
Marine data are expensive to
collect – careful stewardship is
needed to get the benefits of
that investment for
environmental science and
evidence-based policy in a
changing world. The Oceans
2025 programme also supports
our remit to provide highquality oceanographic data
management services nationally
and internationally.
POL Annual Report 2006–07
National and
National support
As a national facility, BODC hosts eight websites, in keeping with our goal of
promoting the wider use of data and information for the national benefit:
The Global Sea Level Observing System (GLOSS) – an
international programme providing a high-quality global and
regional sea-level network for application to climate,
oceanographic and coastal sea level research.
See www.gloss-sealevel.org.
A transatlantic oceanographic section at 36°N – helping to
understand recent major changes in the temperature of the
Atlantic. See www.bodc.ac.uk/36n.
The SOLAS Project Integration – bringing together results from
the international Surface Ocean – Lower Atmosphere Study
(SOLAS) and producing data products, largely to make
quantitative estimates of air-sea fluxes of gases and particles.
See www.bodc.ac.uk/solas_integration.
The RAPID Meridional Overturning Circulation monitoring
array – providing access to real-time data from instruments
deployed to measure the Atlantic Meridional Overturning
Circulation. See page nine and www.bodc.ac.uk/rapidmoc/.
The Marine Environmental Data Action Group (MEDAG) –
providing access to marine data and information on behalf of
the Inter-Agency Committee on Marine Science and
Technology (IACMST). See www.oceannet.org/medag.
The Marine Data and Information Partnership (MDIP) – a UK
partnership of public and private sector organisations working
to provide harmonised stewardship and access to marine data
and information. See www.oceannet.org/mdip/.
The UK Global Ocean Observing System (UKGOOS) – whose
main focus is operational oceanography and forecasting.
See www.oceannet.org/goosag.
The Ocean Margin EXchange (OMEX) project – a former
European research project studying and quantifying the
exchange processes of carbon and associated elements between
the continental shelf of western Europe and the open Atlantic
Ocean. See www.bodc.ac.uk/omex/.
Planning ahead
w w w. p o l . a c . u k
POGO – the Partnership for
Observation of the Global Oceans –
are leading an initiative to provide the
international community with
information on forthcoming ocean
research cruises for ships over 60m
long. See www.pogo-oceancruises.org/.
In line with our role as a national
data centre, we are hosting the
database. This complements our
catalogue of UK research vessel
activities, containing 8,015 entries
from 677 individual ships, dating
from 1948 to the present-day.
See www.bodc.ac.uk/data/
This supplements international
activities such as SeaDataNet
(www.seadatanet.org), a pan-European
project to provide an infrastructure for
distributing marine information,
including information on research
POL Annual Report 2006–07
The Permanent Service for
Mean Sea Level
PSMSL organisation and data
PSMSL has funding – approved as
part of the NERC Oceans2025
programme – for 2007–12. The
funding is based on the proposal of
combining, as far as possible, the
mean sea level (MSL) and higher
frequency delayed mode sea-level databanking activities] at POL and
BODC. This will deliver major
benefits in complementary areas of
work, such as the difficult issue of
organising metadata. The new
arrangements start in April 2007.
Meanwhile PSMSL received almost
2,000 station-years of MSL data in
2006, reflecting improved levels of
communication with data suppliers.
Sea-level trends
Svetlana Jevrejeva and Simon Holgate
from PSMSL, with Aslak Grinsted
and John Moore from the University
of Finland, made an important study
of global sea-level variations. They
combined 1,023 individual tide-gauge
records from around the world using a
novel ‘virtual station’ method. This
uses short and medium-length records
(tens of years) as well as the few long
ones (around a century). Their
analysis shows a high rate of global
sea-level rise (2.5mm a year) occurred
in 1920–45. This compares with the
rate of rise in the 1990s, as seen lately
in tide-gauge and in altimeter data.
Data are available from the PSMSL
Author Archive at
1. Global sea-level trends. The upper curve is
the calculated sea-level time-series; the
lower curve shows the ‘non-linear trends’
in the series (the rate of sea-level
change). Grey bands show uncertainty
2. African and POL sea-level specialists in
International training
In November 2006, PSMSL organised
a two-week training course for 20 sealevel specialists from Africa. This took
place at the IOC facility in Ostende,
Belgium. In 2006, we also provided
short training courses at POL. These
were for a technical specialist from
Pakistan and two IOC consultants.
and reports
PSMSL co-organised a major
World Climate Research
Programme Workshop in Paris in
June. The workshop –
Understanding Sea-Level Rise and
Variability – will have its
presentations published as a book.
We also edited a special volume of
the Philosophical Transactions of
the Royal Society. Published in
2006, it is based on presentations
from a UK Sea-Level Science
meeting at the Royal Society in
2004. The Intergovernmental Panel
on Climate Change 4th Assessment
Report, published in early 2007, has
major contributions from PSMSL.
African gauges
PSMSL has made a commitment to
the Intergovernmental
Oceanographic Commission (IOC)
on the design, purchase and
testing of new tide gauges for
Africa and the NW Indian Ocean.
This includes providing associated
software packages and training.
This year new gauges were
installed in Mauritania, Ghana,
Djibouti and Karachi, and plans for
several others in 2007. Local teams
and IOC consultants worked
closely with PSMSL and POL staff
on the installation.
POL Annual Report 2006–07
to work
Our Applications Team are at the front line for dealing with all
enquiries to POL, from large commercial companies through to
members of the public. A wide range of products and services
will help you get the most from our science.
Questions and answers
We have a large regular customer base
from many areas of the private and
public sectors. We also serve the whole
of POL by dealing with most general
enquiries. These include those directed
to the National Tidal and Sea Level
Facility. We have received some very
unusual questions, a few of which are
listed below:
• Is there a correlation between the
time of earthquakes and the time
of full and new moon?
• Can you provide me with tidal
predictions for the Jurassic and
Cretaceous period?
• If the air becomes so polluted as to
not be able to sustain life, would
humans ever be able to live in an
underwater environment?
• I have a tide table for 1975 …
when is the next year that the tides
are the same so I know not to go
out and buy another one
• The Moon is moving further away
from Earth each year.
How far would the
moon need to
move to effect a
change in the
• What is the smallest
body of water that
could show tidal behaviour – could
a large lake show tides?
• How much will the close passing
of Mars next month affect the
We replied to all of these questions
but the answers are too long to
include here. For answers to more
frequently asked questions see
Tracking seals
w w w. p o l . a c . u k
The Natural Environment Research
Council’s Sea Mammal Research
Unit (SMRU) has made major
advances in marine mammal data
telemetry. They tagged and
successfully tracked a group of seals
whose movements appear to be
influenced by the tide. To help him
find out if this is so, we provided
tidal data to Bernie McConnel at
POL Annual Report 2006–07
A ‘window’ on the tides
POLPRED for Windows is a userfriendly program with a powerful, yet
simple-to-use graphical Windows
interface. POLPRED allows the user
to calculate offshore tidal levels and
currents, and view them in a wide
variety of formats such as timeseries
graphs, contour and vector maps, and
scatter plots.
Many offshore contractors use
POLPRED for planning and for
operational activities. It is a costeffective way to plan offshore work
and anticipate potential problems
arising from tidal movement.
Sitting behind
front-end is a
engine and one
or more of POL’s
offshore models.
These range from
the 35km North
East Atlantic
model through to
high resolution
models of the
Eastern Irish Sea
and English
Channel. Our
newest CS20
model is
invaluable for
needing accurate
features include:
numerical listings of timeseries and
timeseries plots of tidal levels and
maps showing tidal levels, currents
and statistics
an option to incorporate users’
own data layers (such as oil and gas
concession areas, locations of rigs)
scatter plots and frequency
current ellipses
multiple particle tracking with
tidal diamond output in places
Most of our work is funded by the
private sector through requests for
consultancy or added-value data
products. We also work in close
collaboration with some other
groups. We are ‘associate members’
of the National Tidal and Sea Level
Facility. We work closely with them
on issues relating to the harmonic
analysis and mean sea-level analysis
of UK National Tide Gauge
Network data. We have expertise in
developing software and producing
added-value products. This has
allowed us to contribute to the
National Centre for Ocean
Forecasting, of which POL is a
member institute. We have produced
a Risk Assessments CD for POL’s
Ocean Engineering and Technology
Group and produced POL’s Quality
Assurance document. This outlines
POL’s commitment to quality
control within its research activities.
• comparison with observed data
from the British Oceanographic
Data Centre
• a new ‘Set & Go’ function. This
allows the use of POLPRED in
‘batch-mode’, reducing the time
needed to make large numbers of
timeseries calculations.
For users wanting more traditional
tide tables, our POLTIPS•3 coastal
tidal prediction software is popular.
POLTIPS•3 is one of the leading tidal
prediction packages available. It has
custom tide-table formatting, tide
statistics, equal interval predictions
and tide graphs for 600 UK locations.
Software developers are also able to
make use of our modelling skills by
incorporating our Hydrodynamics
DLL directly into their software –
giving them access to our expertise
without having to understand the
maths behind it.
1. The Applications Team has a large
customer base.
2. Journeys made by an individual grey
seal over a period of 171 days between
May and November 2005.
3. Moon image, courtesy World
Wind/NASA Earth Observatory.
In 2006–07 the Applications Team:
● answered over 4,000 enquiries
● issued 31 licences for offshore
● continued to support over 350
users of our software
POL Annual Report 2006–07
to work
Science and
House of Commons reception
Eleanor Howlett, John Kenny
and Graham Tattersall
presented posters at the Ninth
Great British Research and
R&D Show, held at the Houses
of Parliament in March. This
annual event is a showcase for
Britain’s top 250 early-career
engineers, scientists and
technologists. It gives them the
opportunity to present their
work in Parliament and discuss
their research with MPs.
Eleanor’s poster, ‘Fresh Water in
Liverpool Bay’, and Graham’s ‘Arctic
Shelf Seas: Are we getting the full
picture?’ were well received. And so was
John’s ‘Armchair Oceanography’. All
three posters created much discussion.
The reception, arranged by Dr Eric
Wharton of SET for BRITAIN, was
hosted by Dr Brian Iddon MP – a longstanding member of the Commons’
Science and Technology Committee.
Coastal Observatory workshop
John Howarth and Roger Proctor held
the first of a series of three
international workshops on Coastal
Observatories in October. The three-
day workshop enabled the exchange of
ideas and experiences between coastal
observatories worldwide. Speakers
came from Canada, Cyprus, Greece,
Japan, Spain, the US and the UK. For
a breath of fresh air, John and Roger
took our international visitors up the
coast to Formby Point, one of our HF
radar sites. Here they were able to see
beach erosion and build up, and red
squirrels at the National Trust nature
1. Coastal Observatory delegates at POL and on the beach near Formby, coastal erosion and a red
squirrel at Formby.
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2. Eleanor Howlett with Betty Williams MP. Photo: Frank Dumbleton/SET for Britain.
POL Annual Report 2006–07
Schools success
Jonathan Sharples and Simon Holgate
organised and ran a Royal Society
Partnership grant-funded project –
Tides, Sea Level and Climate Change
– with Childwall School in Liverpool.
After teaching 30 year-nine pupils at
the school, they then supervised the
class in making sea-level measurements
over one tidal cycle in Liverpool
Docks. Hosting the class at POL,
Jonathan and Simon then helped
analyse their data and compare them
to POL’s tide gauges and Liverpool’s
long sea-level record. As a result, the
whole class achieved the BA Bronze
Crest award – regarded as equivalent
to a grade C at GCSE. Jonathan
Sharples is Childwall School’s science
Paul Bell took part in West Kirby
Grammar School’s ‘Wider Horizons
Day’, supervising and advising on
3. Ben Moate, Dominik Michel and Andrew
4. Zöe Aston, Jennifer Andrew, Paul
McGarrigle and Louise Ryan.
New faces
We are pleased to have recruited many
new staff at POL. Ben Moate has
joined our coastal processes research
team, and James Leake, Dominik
Michel and Lee Siddons have joined
modelling research. Luca Chiaverini
and Andrew Kennedy work in our
library, Greg Jones works in
information technology, and Emily
Jennings has joined administration.
BODC welcome new data and IT
specialist staff: Jenny Andrew, Zoe
Aston, Elizabeth Hawker, Paul
McGarrigle, Louise Ryan, and Belinda
Visiting MP
Our science
student presentations. Paul and Polly
Hadziabdic attended the school’s
‘Science and Engineering Careers
Forum’ for sixth-formers. They are
both science ambassadors at the
Belinda Vause, Louise Ryan and
Paul Bell took part in the Science
Week GBETSET event – Girls &
Boys Entering Tomorrow’s Science,
Engineering and Technology – at
Liverpool Football Club. Mentoring
small groups of pupils for a day, they
helped solve a series of scientific and
engineering problems.
Eleanor O’Rourke took part in
Caldy Grange Grammar School’s
higher education and careers
convention. Eleanor answered
questions about careers in science,
from years 10 and 11 and sixthformers.
5. Brian Iddon MP (centre, front) with
Andrew Willmott (left), John Huthnance
(right) and staff from our research
programmes and national and international
We were very pleased
to welcome Brian
Iddon MP to POL in
October. During his
visit we presented our
research and
international expertise,
and Brian was able to
meet staff and tour
our facilities.
Because of our expertise in sea
level, shelf and coastal seas,
marine observation and
modelling, we are often asked to
take part in radio and TV
Philip Woodworth took part in
filming for the BBC Coast series.
The programme about tides,
storm surges and coastal erosion
along the north Norfolk coast of
the UK mentioned in particular
the 1953 storm surge that resulted
in heavy loss of life. He took part
in a BBC Radio 5 Live debate on
how climate and sea level might
change in the next 1,000 years
and Swiss Radio interviewed him
about sea-level change.
Kevin Horsburgh contributed to
the television docu-drama
‘Perfect Disaster: Mega Flood’,
shown on Channel 5, and also on
the Discovery Channel. He took
part in a BBC News discussion of
the Bristol Channel floods of 1607.
Phil Knight and Kevin took part in
a live, hour-long interview on
Radio Merseyside on global
warming and coastal flooding.
Chris Hughes appeared live on
local BBC TV News discussing
the possibility of a bottle drifting
from the UK to Australia in six
Peter Thorne, with Alan Davies
from the University of Wales,
Bangor, appeared on BBC Radio
4’s ‘Material World’ in a live
discussion on forecasting
evolving coastlines.
We advised on and have given
briefings for articles in national
and local newspapers and
We had a successful exhibit at
the Blue Planet Aquarium ‘Ocean
Awareness Weekend’ at
Ellesmere Port, Wirral. Eight of
our scientists and technologists
took turns staffing our stand. They
answered questions from over
200 visitors and handed out more
than 300 information packs.
POL Annual Report 2006–07
to work
Where we get our funding
From NERC (£k)
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POL Annual Report 2006–07
Where we spend our funding
Science including the
British Oceanograhic
Data Centre
POL Applications
Recurrent expenditure
Capital expenditure
Indirect costs
Commissioned research
Much of our work is commissioned by other organizations. Here, we list all the commissioned work
we undertake within our main science themes.
Commission projects
Changes in global and regional sea and land levels
Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level
UK tide-gauge network
Absolute Gravity, GPS & MSL
Absolute Fixing of Tide Gauge Benchmarks
Sea level variability and extremes
Climate and Sea Level Change in the Indian sub-continent
Threat posed by tsunami-type events for north-west Europe
Euro Real Time Tsunami Warning
EPSRC Floods
Advanced Global Barotropic Ocean Model
Thames Estuary 2100 for a Phase 2 review of storm surge scenarios
Surge Modelling Ensemble Pilot Study
Increased Frequency Sea Level Monitoring For Tsunami
Continuous ocean measurement methods
Attribution of ocean climate change signals in the Atlantic
Western Atlantic Variability Experiment (WAVE)
Shelf and coastal ocean processes
Geophysical Oceanography - a new tool to understand the thermal
structure of dynamic oceans
Turbulence and plankton
Measuring how sediments move around our coasts
Larger-scale Morphodynamic Impacts of Segmented
Shore-Parallel Breakwaters on Coast and Beaches
Mine burial prediction
Estuarine Morphology
Advanced numerical modelling
Pre-operational model development
Marine Environment and Security for the European Area
Processes controlling dense water formation on Arctic continental shelves
Global Coastal-Ocean Modelling
Palaeo-tide and wave modelling
Centre for observation of Air-Sea Interactions & fluXes
Marine Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem Initiative in QUEST
Gravity improvement of continental slope and shelf sea ocean circulation modelling
Costal Flood Forecasting: Demonstration of Improved Forecast Modeling of
Nearshore Sea Level,Nearshore Waves and Coastal Flooding.
Tapping the Tidal Potential of the Eastern Irish Sea.
Loch Torridon
Olympics 2008
Progress to operational oceanography
Ferrybox - modelling based on ship-borne monitoring instrumentation
International Network of Coastal Observing Systems
Predictive Irish Sea Models
Optimal Design of Observational Networks
Coastal Shelf-Sea OP OBS and Forecasting System
Improved Drift Forecasting In Coastal Waters
Environment Agency
NERC/Met Office/Defra
Environment Agency
Environment Agency
University of Durham/EU
University of Liverpool/EPSRC
ONR Project
Defra Project
NERC Project
Met Office
NERC Project
Private sector
NERC Project
Environment Agency/Private Sector
University of Liverpool/NWDA
Fisheries Research Services
Royal Yacht Club
POL Annual Report 2006–07
Publications list
ISI®-listed publications
ISI®: Institute for Scientific Information www.isinet.com/isi/
Andreu-Burillo, I., J. T. Holt, R. Proctor, J. D. Annan, I. D. James and D. Prandle
(2007). ‘Assimilation of sea surface temperature in the coastal ocean modelling
system.’ Journal of Marine Systems, 65(1-4): 27-40.
Andrew, J. A. M., H. Leach and P. L. Woodworth (2006). ‘The relationships between
tropical Atlantic sea level variability and major climate indices.’ Ocean Dynamics,
56(5-6): 452-463.
Barnier, B., Y. Du Penhoat, L.-L. Fu, R. Morrow, J. Verron and P. L. Woodworth (2006).
‘Editorial.’ Ocean Dynamics, 56(5-6): 377-378.
Berntsen, J., J. Xing and G. Alendal (2006). ‘Assessment of non-hydrostatic ocean
models using laboratory scale problems.’ Continental Shelf Research, 26(12-13):
Bingham, R. J. and K. Haines (2006). ‘Mean dynamic topography: intercomparisons
and errors.’ Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, A, 364(1841):
Bingham, R. J. and C. W. Hughes (2006). ‘Observing seasonal bottom pressure
variability in the North Pacific with GRACE.’ Geophysical Research Letters, 33(8):
Art. No. L08607.
Bradley, J., S. Griffin, M. Thiele, M. D. Richardson and P. D. Thorne (In Press). ‘An
acoustic-instrumented mine for studying subsequent burial.’ IEEE Journal of
Oceanic Engineering, (Special issue ‘Mine burial prediction’).
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POL Annual Report 2006–07
Carling, P. A., A. Radecki-Pawlick, J. J. Williams, B. Rumble, L. Meshkova, P. S. Bell
and R. Breakspear (2006). ‘The morphodynamics and internal structure of intertidal
fine-gravel dunes: Hills Flats, Severn Estuary, UK. ‘ Sedimentary Geology, 183(3-4):
Cooper, W. S., C. L. Hinton, N. Ashton, A. Saulter, C. Morgan, R. Proctor, C. Bell and
Q. Huggett (2006). ‘An introduction to the UK marine renewable atlas.’ Proceedings
of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Maritime Engineering, 159(1): 1-8.
Dewar, W. K., R. J. Bingham, R. L. Iverson, D. P. Nowacek, L. C. St. Laurent and P. H.
Wiebe (2006). ‘Does the marine biosphere mix the ocean?’ Journal of Marine
Research, 64(4): 541-561.
Esteves, L. S., J. J. Williams and S. R. Dillenburg (2006). ‘Seasonal and interannual
influences on the patterns of shoreline changes in Rio Grande do Sul, southern
Brazil.’ Journal of Coastal Research, 22(5): 1076-1093.
Greenstreet, S. P. R., E. Armstrong, H. Mosegaard, H. Jensen, I. M. Gibb, H. Fraser,
B. E. Scott, G. J. Holland and J. Sharples (2006). ‘Variation in the abundance of
sandeels Ammodytes marinus off southeast Scotland: an evaluation of area-closure
fisheries management and stock abundance assessment methods.’ ICES Journal of
Marine Science, 63(8): 1530-1550.
Griesel, A. and M. A. M. Maqueda (2006). ‘The relation of meridional pressure
gradients to North Atlantic deep water volume transport in an ocean general
circulation model.’ Climate Dynamics, 26(7-8): 781-799.
Hill, A. E. and A. J. Souza (2006). ‘Tidal dynamics in channels: 2. complex channel
networks.’ Journal of Geophysical Research, 111(C11): C11021.
Hofmann, M. and M. A. M. Maqueda (2006). ‘Performance of a second-order
moments advection scheme in an Ocean General Circulation Model.’ Journal of
Geophysical Research, 111(C5): Art. No. C05006.
Holt, J. T. and I. D. James (2006). ‘An assessment of the fine-scale eddies in a highresolution model of the shelf seas west of Great Britain.’ Ocean Modelling, 13(3-4):
Hughes, C. W., V. N. Stepanov, L.-L. Fu, B. Barnier and G. W. Hargreaves (2007).
‘Three forms of variability in Argentine Basin ocean bottom pressure.’ Journal of
Geophysical Research, 112(C01011).
Jackson, L., C. W. Hughes and R. G. Williams (2006). ‘Topographic control of basin
and channel flows: the role of bottom pressure torques and friction.’ Journal of
Physical Oceanography, 36(9): 1786-1805.
POL Annual Report 2006–07
Jevrejeva, S., A. Grinsted, S. P. Moores and S. J. Holgate (2006). ‘Nonlinear trends
and multiyear cycles in sea level records ‘ Journal of Geophysical Research,
111(C9): Art. No. C09012.
Jones, J. E. and A. M. Davies (2006). ‘Application of a finite element model
(TELEMAC) to computing the wind induced response of the Irish Sea.’ Continental
Shelf Research, 26(12-13): 1519-1541.
Kobayashi, S., J. H. Simpson, T. Fujiwara and K. J. Horsburgh (2006). ‘Tidal stirring
and its impact on water column stability and property distributions in a semienclosed shelf sea (Seto Inland Sea, Japan).’ Continental Shelf Research, 26(11):
Lane, A. and D. Prandle (2006). ‘Random-walk particle modelling for estimating
bathymetric evolution of an estuary’. Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science, 68(1-2):
Lewis, K., J. I. Allen, A. J. Richardson and J. T. Holt (2006). ‘Error quantification of a
high resolution coupled hydrodynamic-ecosystem coastal-ocean model: Part3,
validation with Continuous Plankton Recorder data.’ Journal of Marine Systems,
63(3-4): 209-224.
Maqueda, M. A. M. and G. Holloway (2006). ‘Second-order moment advection
scheme applied to Arctic Ocean simulation.’ Ocean Modelling, 14(3-4): 197-221.
Mitchell, N. C. and J. M. Huthnance (2007). ‘Comparing the smooth, parabolic
shapes of interfluves in continental slopes to predictions of diffusion transport
models.’ Marine Geology, 236(3-4): 189-208.
Molines, J.-M., B. Barnier, J. Verron and P. L. Woodworth (2006). ‘In memoriam. [Dr
Christian Le Provost].’ Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, A,
364: 785-786.
Moore, J., A. Grinsted and S. Jevrejeva (2006). ‘Is there evidence for sunspot
forcing of climate at multi-year and decadal periods?’ Geophysical Research
Letters, 33(17): Art. No. L17705.
Moore, C. M., D. J. Suggett, A. E. Hickman, Y.-N. Kim, J. F. Tweddle, J. Sharples, R. J.
Geider and P. M. Holligan (2006). ‘Phytoplankton photoacclimation and
photoadaptation in response to environmental gradients in a shelf sea.’ Limnology
and Oceanography, 51(2): 936-949.
Owen, G. W. A., A. J. Willmott and I. D. Abrahams (2006). ‘Scattering of barotropic
Rossby waves by the Antarctic Circumpolar Current.’ Journal of Geophysical
Research, 111: C12024.
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POL Annual Report 2006–07
Prandle, D. (2006). ‘Dynamical controls on estuarine bathymetry: assessment
against UK database.’ Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science, 68(1-2): 282-288.
Prandle, D., A. Lane and A. Manning (2006). ‘New typologies for estuarine
morphology.’ Geomorphology, 81(3-4): 309-315
Rietbroek, R., P. LeGrand, B. Wouters, J.-M. Lemoine, G. Ramillien and C. W. Hughes
(2006). ‘Comparison of in situ bottom pressure data with GRACE gravimetry in the
Crozet-Kerguelen region ‘ Geophysical Research Letters, 33(21): No. L21601.
Salles, P. and A. J. Souza (2006). ‘Editorial to the second PECS 2004 special issue of
Ocean Dynamics.’ Ocean Dynamics, 56(3-4): 151-152.
Sharples, J., O. N. Ross, B. E. Scott, S. P. R. Greenstreet and H. Fraser (2006). ‘Interannual variability in the timing of stratification and the spring bloom in the Northwestern North Sea.’ Continental Shelf Research, 26(6): 733-751.
Siddorn, J. R., J. I. Allen, J. C. Blackford, F. J. Gilbert, J. T. Holt, M. W. Holt, J. P.
Osborne, R. Proctor and D. K. Mills (2007). ‘Modelling the hydrodynamics and
ecosystem of the North-West European continental shelf for operational
oceanography.’ Journal of Marine Systems, 65(1-4): 417-429.
Souza, A. J. and A. E. Hill (2006). ‘Tidal dynamics in channels: single channels.’
Journal of Geophysical Research, 111(C9): C09037.
Stepanov, V. N. and C. W. Hughes (2006). ‘Propagation of signals in basin-scale
ocean bottom pressure from a barotropic model.’ Journal of Geophysical Research,
111(C12): Art. No. C12002.
Thorne, P. D., Y. C. Agrawal and D. A. Cacchione (In press). ‘A comparison of nearbed acoustic backscatter and laser diffraction measurements of suspended
sediments.’ IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering, (Special issue ‘Mine burial
Uehara, K., J. D. Scourse, K. J. Horsburgh, K. Lambeck and A. P. Purcell (2006). ‘Tidal
evolution of the northwest European shelf seas from the Last Glacial Maximum to
the present.’ Journal of Geophysical Research, 111(C9): Art. No. C09025.
Walkington, I. A. and A. J. Willmott (2006). ‘A coupled coastal polynya-atmopsheric
boundary layer model.’ Journal of Physical Oceanography, 36(5): 897-913.
Williams, J. J., P. A. Carling and P. S. Bell (2006). ‘Dynamics of intertidal gravel
dunes.’ Journal of Geophysical Research, 111(C6): C06035.
Williams, S. D. P. and P. Willis (2006). ‘Error analysis of weekly station coordinates in
the DORIS network.’ Journal of Geodesy, 80(8-11): 525-539.
POL Annual Report 2006–07
Wolf, J. and D. K. Woolf (2006). ‘Waves and climate change in the north-east
Atlantic.’ Geophysical Research Letters, 33(6): Art. No. L06604.
Woodworth, P. L., C. W. Hughes, D. L. Blackman, V. N. Stepanov, S. J. Holgate, P. R.
Foden, J. Pugh, S. Mack, G. W. Hargreaves, M. Meredith, G. Milinevsky and J. J. F.
Contreras (2006). ‘Antarctic peninsula sea levels: a real time system for monitoring
Drake Passage transport.’ Antarctic Science, 18(3): 429-436.
Woodworth, P. L. (2006). ‘The meteorological data of William Hutchinson and a
Liverpool air pressure time series spanning 1768-1999.’ International Journal of
Climatology, 26(12): 1713-1726.
Wyatt, L. R., J. J. Green, A. Middleditch, M. D. Moorhead, M. J. Howarth, M. Holt
and S. Keogh (2006). ‘Operational wave, current, and wind measurements with the
Pisces HF Radar.’ IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering, 31(4): 819-834.
Xing, J. and A. M. Davies (2006). ‘Influence of stratification and topography upon
internal wave spectra in the region of sills.’ Geophysical Research Letters, 33(23):
Art. No. L23606.
Xing, J. and A. M. Davies (2006). ‘Internal wave trapping and mixing in a cold water
dome ‘ Journal of Geophysical Research, 111(C7): Art. No. C07002.
Xing, J. and A. M. Davies (2006). ‘Processes influencing tidal mixing in the region of
sills.’ Geophysical Research Letters, 33(4): Art. No. L04603.
Young, E. F. and J. T. Holt (2007). ‘Prediction and analysis of long-term variability of
temperature and salinity in the Irish Sea ‘ Journal of Geophysical Research, 112(C1):
Art. No. C01008.
Other refereed publications
Baker, T. F. and H. T. Hsu (2006). ‘ETS-3: Earth and ocean tides: theory, analysis.
Proceedings of the 15th International Symposium on Earth Tides, held in Ottawa,
Canada, 2-6 August 2004 ‘ Journal of Geodynamics, 41(1-3): 100-132.
Church, J., S. Wilson, P. L. Woodworth and T. Aarup (2007). ‘Understanding sea level
rise and variability.’ Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union, 88(4): p.43.
Daunt, F., S. Wanless, G. Peters, S. Benvenuti, J. Sharples, D. Grimillet and B. E.
Scott (2006). ‘Impacts of oceanography on the foraging dynamics of seabirds in the
North Sea ‘. 177-190 in, Top predators in marine ecosystems: their role in monitoring
and management. Camphuysen, C. J., S. Wanless and I. Boyd, Eds. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press.
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POL Annual Report 2006–07
Horsburgh, K. J. and M. Horritt (2006). ‘The Bristol Channel floods of 1607 reconstruction and analysis.’ Weather, 61(10): 272-277.
Joseph, A., J. T. Odametey, E. K. Nkebi, A. Pereira, R. G. Prabhudesail, P. Mehra, A.
B. Rabinovich, V. Kumar, S. Prabhu-Desai and P. L. Woodworth (2006). ‘The 26
December 2004 Sumatra Tsunami recorded on the coast of West Africa.’ African
Journal of Marine Science, 28(3-4): 705-712.
Scott, B. E., J. Sharples, S. Wanless, O. N. Ross, M. Frederiksen and F. Daunt (2006).
‘The use of biologically meaningful oceanographic indices to separate the effects of
climate and fisheries on seabird breeding success’. 46-62 in, Top predators in
marine ecosystems: their role in monitoring and management. Camphuysen, C. J., S.
Wanless and I. Boyd, Eds. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Souza, A. J., J. T. Holt and R. Proctor (2007). ‘Modelling SPM on the NW European
shelf seas’. 147-158 in, Coastal and shelf sediment transport. Balson, P. S. and M. B.
Collins, Eds. London: Geological Society, Special Publication 247.
POL Annual Report 2006–07
Staff lists
Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory staff
1 April 2006–31 March 2007
Prof Andrew Willmott
Prof John Huthnance Deputy Director (50%)
Mrs Sian Coughlin
Mrs Linda Ravera
Sea Level Research
Prof Philip Woodworth (Head) and Director
Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level
Prof Trevor Baker
Dr Rory Bingham
Mr David Blackman
Dr Kevin Horsburgh
Dr Chris Hughes
Dr Miguel Morales-Maqueda
Dr Vladimir Stepanov
Mrs Jane Williams
Dr Simon Williams
Dr Chris Wilson
Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level
Mrs Kathy Gordon
Dr Simon Holgate
Dr Svetlana Jevrejeva
Coastal Processes Research
Prof John Huthnance (Head)
Dr Paul Bell
Dr Kyle Betteridge
Mr John Howarth
Mr Philip Knight
Mr Andrew Lane
Mr Ben Moate
Mrs Rose Player
Dr Jonathan Sharples
Prof Peter Thorne
Modelling Research
Dr Roger Proctor (Head)
Dr Isabel Andreu-Burillo
Prof Alan Davies
Dr Philip Hall
Dr Jason Holt
Dr Ian James
Dr Eric Jones
Mr James Leake
Mr Dominik Michel
Dr Sylvain Michel
Dr Pedro Osuna-Canedo †
Dr Clare Postlethwaite
Mr Lee Siddons
Dr Alejandro Souza
Mr Duncan Stirling
Dr Graham Tattersall
Dr Sarah Wakelin
Dr Judith Wolf
Dr Jiuxing Xing
Ocean Engineering & Technology
Mr John Humphery (Head)
Dr Chris Balfour
Mr Mike Burke
Mr Joseph Collins
Dr Richard Cooke
Mr Ray Edun
Mr Peter Foden
Mr Geoff Hargreaves
Mr Dave Jones
Mr Emlyn Jones
Mr John Kenny
Dr Stephen Mack
Mr Danny McLaughlin
Mr Jeff Pugh
Dr Michael Smithson
† Retired or left during 2006–07
British Oceanographic Data Center staff
1 April 2006–31 March 2007
Dr Juan Brown
Tide Gauge Inspectorate
Mr Dave Smith (Head)
Miss Jenny Andrew
Miss Zöe Aston
Miss Elizabeth Bradshaw
Dr Claudia Castellani
Dr Mark Charlesworth
Dr Julie Collins
Miss Stephanie Contardo
Dr Raymond Cramer
Dr Richard Downer
Dr Stephen Emsley
Dr Gaynor Evans
Dr Sean Gaffney
Dr Alex Gardiner †
Ms Polly Hadziabdic
Dr Elizabeth Hawker
Mr Malcom Hearn
Mr Mark Hebden
Mr Michael Hughes †
Miss Corallie Hunt
Dr Frances Kellie
Mr Venkatasiva Kondapalli
Dr Adam Leadbetter
Mr Stephen Loch
Dr Roy Lowry
Mr Quyen To Luong
Mrs Elizabeth Macleod
Mrs Mairi Marshall †
Dr Robin McCandliss
Dr Rebecca McCreadie †
Mr Paul McGarrigle
Dr Gwenaelle Moncoiffé
Miss Mary Mowat
Mr Richard O’Brien †
Dr Lesley Rickards
Miss Louise Ryan
Ms Kay Thorne
Mr Neil Upton †
Dr Belinda Vause
Mrs Karen Vickers
Miss Pauline Weatherall
Mr Geoffrey Williams
Mr Les Bradley
Mr Darryn Gaudie
Applications Team
Mr Colin Bell (Head)
Mrs Lisa Eastwood
Mr Kevin Ferguson
Ms Jill Moore
Information and Communications
Ms Julia Martin (Head) †
Ms Nadina McShane
Mr Luca Chiaverini
Miss Janet Clifford
Mr Craig Corbett
Mr Andrew Kennedy
Miss Sarah Lewis-Newton †
Mrs Veronica Scott
Mr Robert Smith
Information Technology
Dr Colin Stephens (Head)
Miss Jane Black
Mr Dave Cable
Mr Greg Jones
Mrs Margaret Mahon
Mr David Plant
Mrs Julie Tunstall
Mr John Murray (Head)
Mrs Cathy Burke
Mr David Butler
Mrs Pamela Ferguson
Mrs Jingbo He
Mr Peter Hunt
Ms Emily Jennings
Mr Derek Johnson
Mrs Mary Linnane
Mr John Mackinnon
Mrs Linda Parry
Mr Paul Reddy
Mrs Jean Smith
Mr Philip Worrall
Dr Dave Cotton –
Marine Data and Information Partnership Manager –
hosted by BODC
MSc Students
Miss Lise Quesnel
Mr Amit Chandra †
MSc Students
Mr Martin Poulton
Mr Abdul Siddiqui
PhD Students
Miss Leslie Aveytua Alcazar
(Mexican Science Council)
Mr Gualtiero Badin †
Miss Alice Galbraith (NERC/CASE)
Mr Raul Gonzalez (Mexican Science Council)
Mr Rob Hall (NERC)
Mr James Hawe (University Studentship)
Miss Angela Hibbert (University Studentship)
Miss Eleanor Howlett (NERC)
Miss Kerry Marten (CASE – NERC)
Miss Rowena Moore (Industrial CASE – Airbus)
Mr Rory O’Hara Murray (University Studentship)
Miss Eleanor O'Rourke(NERC Tied)
Mr William Thurston (CASE – POL)
Mr Do Trong Binh (Vietnam University)
Mr William Thurston (CASE/NERC)
Miss Jennifer Waters (CASE/NERC)
Hao-Cheng Yu † (Twaiwan NSYS University)
Baja California
University of Wales Bangor
University of Wales Bangor
Twaiwan NSYS University
POL Annual Report 2006–07
Quarter-diurnal periodicity
The horizontal transfer of heat or other
Engineering and Physical Sciences
Research Council.
Happening four times a day.
Flicker noise
Clouds of solid or liquid particles in a gas.
A random noise signal with energy
proportional to the frequency.
A renewed suspension of sediment
particles after they have settled on the
Float gauge chart recorder
A gauge that uses a float on the water’s
surface to record the tides.
The saltiness of a solution, in particular
Measuring altitudes, or heights.
Fresh-water front
Seabed lander
The front of an advancing mass of fresh
An instrumented frame that sits on the
The maximum displacement in a periodic
Spring tides
The study of the shape of the earth and the
determination of the exact position of
geographical points.
A period during the month when the tidal
range is at its greatest.
When particles in a fluid collide and
become attached to each other.
The deflection of waves or particles from
their original direction.
Harmonic analyses
Relating to the seabed.
All the plant and animal life of a particular
A way of getting data from observations
that are then used to predict the tides.
The division of a body of water (or
atmosphere or rocks) into layers with
different values of, for example,
temperature or salinity.
Higher frequency delayed mode
sea-level data banking
Data collected hourly or more frequently,
stored, and then sent annually to PSMSL.
Transmission of data from remote sources
by satellite or other means.
The largest-ever consortium supporting UK
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A layer in a body of water with a
temperature gradient separating surface
water from cooler lower water.
Single-celled algae made from calcium
The movement of currents within fluids.
Tidal diamond
The study of the behaviour of fluids.
A mathematical way of showing how
similar two things are.
A tidal diamond is a way of showing the
tidal current speed and direction over a
tidal cycle.
Cotidal chart
A line connecting points having the same
temperature at a given time.
A series of measurements taken over a
period of time.
An imaginary circle around the Earth
running parallel to the equator.
Underwater glider
A tidal chart with lines joining places
where the tide has the same phase; for
example, where high waters occur at the
same time.
Current ellipse
A graphical way of representing a tidal
current at the same place over a complete
tidal cycle.
Information about data.
Dimethyl sulphide
Extremely small animal lacking a backbone
or spinal column.
In the ocean, a chemical released from
The area from the tropical regions towards
the polar regions.
A Dynamic Link Library is a set of functions
that can be executed, or data that can be
used by a Windows application.
Water column
A vertical column of water from the sea
surface to the seabed.
White noise.
A random noise signal with equal energy at
all frequencies.
Neap tides
A period during the month when the tidal
range is at its least.
A system formed by the interaction of a
community of organisms with each other
and their physical environment.
A unmanned underwater vehicle that
measures water properties while using its
fall and rise through the water column to
generate forward motion.
Small primitive chlorophyll-containing
aquatic organisms.
X-band radar
Similar to a ship’s radar.
Joseph Proudman Building, 6 Brownlow Street, Liverpool L3 5DA, UK
Tel: +44 (0)151 795 4800 Fax: +44 (0)151 795 4801 www.pol.ac.uk
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