Dissertation topics (UHH)

This document (draft) outlines possible topics for Universität of Hamburg student theses with members of the EO group. Please contact the people involved if you’re interested. It is not exhaustive, and you are also invited to propose topics of your own.


Subtropical gyre and wind-adjustment (no longer available)

Shelf-edge exchange in the Labrador Sea

  • Supervisors: Elodie Duyck, Eleanor Frajka-Williams
  • Data: Lagrangian drifter trajectories from the Global Drifter Program
  • Time period: Since 2019
  • Region: Subpolar North Atlantic / Labrador Sea

Investigating the processes responsible for shelf-edge exchange (wind and eddies), to understand how fresh shelf waters of Arctic and Greenland origin can escape to the center of the Labrador Sea/subpolar gyre.

  • Supervisor(s): Eleanor Frajka-Williams
  • Data: Satellite altimetry and reanalysis wind, in situ transport estimates from the RAPID 26°N array.
  • Time period: Primarily 2004-2022, but also from 1993.
  • Region: subtropical North Atlantic

Investigating variability of upper mid-ocean (top 1100m) and Antilles Current transports in response to wind-stress curl over the Atlantic.

Fast gyre-scale response to wind in the North Atlantic

  • Supervisor(s): Eleanor Frajka-Williams
  • Data: Satellite gravimetry and reanalysis wind, and in situ transport estimates from the RAPID 26°N array.
  • Time period: Primarily 2004-2022, but also from 2002.
  • Region: North Atlantic


Presence of small-scale (2–10km) motions in Denmark Strait overflow water

  • Supervisor(s): Eleanor Frajka-Williams
  • Data: Mooring array south of Denmark Strait
  • Time period: 2012, 2018
  • Region: east of Greenland, south of Iceland

Characterising the horizontal and vertical structure of hydrographic properties (temperature, salinity) and ocean currents (velocity) in the outflow plume of the Denmark Strait overflow water.

Variability of Denmark Strait overflow water properties (no longer available)

  • Supervisor(s): Eleanor Frajka-Williams
  • Data: Mooring array in Denmark Strait
  • Time period: 2006-2022
  • Region: Denmark Strait, between Greenland and Iceland

Evaluating the interannual variability of properties (temperature, salinity and density) of DSOW characteristics.

More technical

Methods of measuring ocean properties

  • Supervisor(s): Eleanor Frajka-Williams
  • Data: Time series from a Seabird MicroCAT and RBR Concerto measuring temperature and salinity at 2000m in the western Atlantic, and associated hydrographic data from ship-based CTD profiles
  • Time period: 2020-2022.
  • Region: western boundary of the subtropical Atlantic, near the Bahamas

Diagnosing quality and pitfalls of two different sensors for measuring ocean properties.

Measuring vertical seawater velocity from ocean gliders

  • Supervisor(s): Eleanor Frajka-Williams, Louis Clement (NOC)
  • Data: Seaglider and Slocum data from the Labrador Sea (and possibly elsewhere)
  • Time period: 2005-present
  • Region: Labrador Sea and elsewhere

Marine autonomous gliders can be used to estimate vertical seawater velocities by using their measured pressure signals and comparing it to predicted vehicle depth based on a flight model for the vehicle. Several avenues of investigation are possible, including how different flight models produce different estimates of vertical velocity (and associated uncertainties) and how those vertical velocity characteristics differ in the ocean (e.g., in regions of deep convection like the Labrador Sea or western Mediterranean).