Welcome OSNAP Students and Postdocs

by Susan Lozier

As the swift pace of the OSNAP field season has wound down, we have been gathering profiles of the students and postdocs who are working on OSNAP projects.  So, with this post I would like to welcome those young oceanographers: Till Baumann (GEOMAR, Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research), Elizabeth Comer (National Oceanography Centre and University of Southampton), and Nick Foukal and Sijia Zou (Duke University) are graduate students working on OSNAP projects and Loïc Houpert (Scottish Association for Marine Sciences) and Neill Mackay (National Oceanography Centre) are postdocs.  See:  http://www.o-snap.org/partners/students-postdocs/ for more information about these oceanographers and their projects.  As with almost all other large scale ocean observational programs, OSNAP was designed by those of us who have been oceanographers for a number of years, if for no other reason than the planning itself can take a number of years. The seeds of OSNAP were planted back in the summer of 2007 when Bill Johns, Molly Baringer and I were enjoying lunch outdoors on a warm day in Falmouth, Massachusetts. Seven years later – just this past summer – the OSNAP array was first deployed.  Seven years is maybe only a fifth (or sixth for those hardy souls) of an oceanographer’s career, but to a student, it is more than a lifetime, at least when measured in graduate school units.  Thus, the graduate students and postdocs now working on OSNAP have just recently been entrained into this program, but it is highly likely that the work of these students and postdocs will be shaping OSNAP as it evolves in the years ahead. A large part of shaping OSNAP will be understanding how the OSNAP data fits in the larger context of the North buy topamax online Atlantic circulation and its variability.  Judging by the descriptions of their current projects, these students and postdocs seem quite suited to this task. Unlike my graduate work in the mid-80s, which focused on the analysis of output from a single run of an idealized ocean model, these students and postdocs are analyzing  a host of data sets and output from a number of models. A quick read through these six profiles reveals that their combined work involves the use of data from the 53°N mooring array, the Angmagssalik mooring array just south of the Denmark Strait, the Extended Ellett Line, ocean models, satellite, gliders, Argo floats and RAFOS floats. Whew!  It seems to me that the greater access to data and models, and the facile use of such data, allows one to more readily pursue inquiry-driven research.  Rather than asking what one can answer with a certain data set, the issue becomes how to find the data that can address the question of interest.  It is highly unlikely that the questions we want to answer will be answered with OSNAP data alone.  In fact, we already know this to be the case. And so, these students and postdocs who are analyzing multiple observational and model data sets are primed to help us place the OSNAP data (a couple of years down the road) in a larger spatial, temporal and dynamic context.  Sounds as though I am placing all the hard work on this next generation of oceanographers!  Not quite.  Those of us involved with OSNAP from the start will be around for a while yet and we look forward to working with these students and postdocs in the years ahead.


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