The Environmental Earth Sciences Facility (EESF) has been established in the North section of EOS East and was funded through the Minor Capital Programme.
EESF studies the medium and large-scale dynamics of the lake, ocean, and atmospheric systems. The guiding principle in our work is that an understanding of physical mechanisms is key to eventual understanding of not only their physical evolution but also of at least some aspects of their bio/chemical evolution. Work ranges from theoretical to observational but tends to be rooted in the problems that arise from analysis of real data. Collaborations are carried out with other scientists specializing in biological oceanography, atmospheric science, and fluids engineering, mostly in the government or academic research environment. Some work is also carried out with private industry in environmental impacts. Funding is generally from government sources.
Computer Laboratory ("Waterhole") for Environmental Earth Sciences Facility
The computer systems in EESF provide the primary computation platform for the numerical modelling and data analysis for the research groups of Drs. Susan Allen, William Hsieh, Richard Pawlowicz, and to a lesser extent for other physical oceanographers/atmospheric scientists. Projects requiring more computing resources than available in EESF are done on the Geophysical Disasters Beowulf Cluster.
Seagoing observational programs are supported through the resources of the Ocean Dynamics Lab (jointly operated by Drs. Rich Pawlowicz and Roger Pieters). An equipment base pooled with the Environmental Fluids group in Civil Engineering allows us to carry out fieldwork throughout the year in the lakes and coastal regions of Western Canada.
Dr. Allen's groups research covers three main areas: (1) The role of submarine canyons in cross-shelf break exchange: Studies included laboratory simulation experiments (carried out in the Environmental Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Civil Engineering's Rusty Hut Building), observational programs (in collaboration with the Institute of Ocean Sciences and University of Washington), numerical simulations and theoretical scaling studies. (2) Buoyancy driven flows in the atmosphere (in collaboration with Dr. Douw Steyn): Laboratory simulation research has complemented Dr. Steyn's observational and numerical studies. (3) Role of physical oceanographic processes on biological processes in the ocean: Pursued through collaboration with a number of biological oceanographers (Institute of Oceans Sciences, University of Victoria (UVic), Pacific Biological Station), the current focus is on the Strait of Georgia through the NSERC strategic project STRATOGEM. Results from observational studies (led by Dr. R. Pawlowicz and Dr. J. Dower (UVic)) are driving numerical modelling efforts to quantify timing and processes of biological productivity in the Strait.
Dr. Pawlowicz's group is mainly interested in the interactions of stratified flow with topography, development of new technologies to better visualize geophysical fluid dynamics, and the regional oceanography of the BC coast. Most of the work is firmly rooted in the tradition of seagoing oceanography, from vessels ranging in size from 3m to 80m in length and time scales of minutes to seasons.
Dr. Hsieh's group is mainly interested in (1) the development and application of neural network methods to the environmental sciences, and (2) seasonal climate prediction. Neural networks have been developed to nonlinearly generalize popular data methods (e.g. principal component analysis, canonical correlation analysis and singular spectrum analysis), and are being applied to various phenomena in the atmosphere and the ocean (e.g. El Niño, the stratospheric quasi-biennial oscillation, the Pacific-North American teleconnection, the Arctic Oscillation, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, and coastal morphodynamics). Neural network methods are also being combined with dynamical models to produce hybrid models of the tropical Pacific ocean-atmosphere system.
Ocean Dynamics Laboratory for Environmental Earth Sciences Facility