Intern Jonathan Zikos – Senior Environmental Chemistry major working under Dr. Darek Bogucki at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi’s Harte Research Institute.
This summer, I will be analyzing and categorizing data from Dr. Bogucki’s Optical Turbulence Sensor (OTS) experiments with the focus on nearsurface particulate content, and comparing this with GLAD CTD data acquired at approximately the same time and location. A CTD is a group of sensors put into the ocean to measure Conductivity, Temperature, and Depth among other things. The GLAD data I will be working with also has salinity, density, dissolved Oxygen, Nitrogen saturation, and fluorescence measurements. This helps me to know what’s in the water moving around on a bio/chemical level. Is it plankton? Is it detritus? Is it oil droplets?
The OTS uses a laser to cast shadows on a sensor. This allows me to not only see the turbulence in the water, but the particles of stuff floating around in the water. I will be using a powerful mathematics program called MATLAB to find out how large these particles are, and comparing them with the GLAD data to try and figure out what they are.
Turbulence is very interesting. It’s chaotic and complex, yet it’s the same on almost any scale. Turbulence in the atmosphere of Jupiter looks the same as the turbulence in a cup of coffee and cream, or an ocean with oil in it. In this way turbulence is not unlike a fractal. You can look at the whole ocean, or you can zoom in and look at a cubic centimeter of it, and you still see turbulence governed by the same basic physics.
I’m very excited to be working on this and seeing where it all leads. Will I end up focusing more on the particulates, or the turbulence, or something else? Only time will tell.