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Seismic Inversion and Stochastic Spectral Analysis of Thermohaline Staircases in the Tyrrhenian Sea (SEISSEA)
Start date: Sep 15, 2011, End date: Sep 14, 2013 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"Seismic oceanography is the application of seismic reflection profiling together with conventional oceanographic techniques to the study of physical oceanographic processes. Seismic oceanography data were acquired in April and May, 2010 in the Tyrrhenian Sea and imaged so-called thermohaline staircases. Thermohaline staircases are regular, well-defined, step-like variations in vertical temperature and salinity gradients that form when temperature and salinity increase with depth and nearly compensate with density. They are important indicators of mixing processes such as double-diffusive convection.The candidate proposes the development of three new seismic oceanography techniques: a) advanced seismic data analysis, b) inversion of seismic data to obtain estimates of temperature, salinity and sound speed, and c) stochastic spectral analysis, which will allow discrimination between areas dominated by turbulence and those dominated by internal waves and provide estimates of their associated scale lengths.The results of this project will undoubtedly advance the tools of seismic oceanography and will provide some of the constraints necessary to generate ocean circulation models. Since the ocean is responsible for a large portion of heat redistribution, the results will also be useful to climate scientists whom use circulation models in the study of climate change."
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