Student Profile: Ph.D. Student Kelsey Brunner Engages with MARACOOS Data

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Pictured: Kelsey Brunner, State University of New York at Stony Brook

April 1st, 2019

Kelsey Brunner is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Physical Oceanography at Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, where MARACOOS data are assisting in her research. Kelsey studies the surface currents on the continental shelf of the Mid-Atlantic Bight (MAB). Establishing a better understanding of the physics of these circulation patterns can equip scientists with the knowledge necessary for preparing for and predicting storm patterns, implementing more efficient search and rescue plans, and cleaning up after storms.

Kelsey uses MARACOOS’ 5MHz frequency CODAR network to retrieve High-Frequency radar (HFR) surface velocity data. By tracking data collected since 2006, she is analyzing the complexities of tides and coastal trapped waves in the MAB by observing the variability in average signals collected annually or seasonally and at inter-annual and intra-annual time scales.

Kelsey has made some interesting findings throughout her research. In past studies, tidal current properties have been treated as constants, but Kelsey has discovered that these properties significantly differ between certain regions. Additionally, during high winds, coastal trapped wave surface velocities can reach up to 100 cm/s. With the underlying knowledge that surface currents along the coast are impacted by local and remote wind forcing, meteorological forcing, tides, and pressure gradients, Kelsey aims to show that coastal trapped waves are a dominant component of MAB surface circulation.

Story By: Jessica Ganim