Physical oceanographer focusing on the transfer of heat and momentum between the atmosphere and the upper ocean in the Southern Ocean.
Johan Edholm is a research assistant at the University of Gothenburg, in the Polar Gliders research group.
SWOT AdAC: What is your field of research and how did you choose it?
Johan Edholm: My field of research lies within observational physical oceanography, and my interests include the transfer of heat and momentum between the atmosphere and the upper ocean, specifically in the Southern Ocean as this is an area that is globally very significant in terms of absorbing anthropogenic carbon and heat. In my work, I examine atmospheric weather systems and submesoscale ocean dynamics that can affect key climate variables over time and space scales. As a part of the Polar Gliders research group, we use a combination of observations from autonomous ocean robotics, atmospheric forecasting models, satellites, and ship-based measurements. Recently, I’ve overseen the groups data curation, and producing beautiful and useful figures for our recent field campaign, SO-CHIC. I spent my childhood in the archipelago just south of Gothenburg, fishing, tinkering with boat engines, and solving everyday problems around the house. This has led to an intense curiosity for the ocean, and how it all works.
SWOT AdAC: How is your field of research related to SWOT?
JE: SWOT will capture the sea surface height at an unprecedented resolution. This in turn will allow us to categorize and detect ocean eddies and filaments with a much higher resolution than before. Comparing these data with our in-situ data collected by uncrewed surface vessels means that we can evaluate the leakage of heat and carbon from the Agulhas current to the South Atlantic, and eventually the meridional overturning circulation.
SWOT-AdAC: What do you find exciting about SWOT and the SWOT-AdAC campaign you will be participating? How will you contribute to the campaign?
JE: Growing up with an interest in technology and watching NASA launches since the late 90’s, I think it is super cool to end up with “your own” satellite. I am super excited to go to sea again, on the QUICCHE cruise. The pandemic really shut that type of science down, and we are all happy to start again! Secondly, I will be using our in-situ data from the cruise, together with the SWOT, to analyze heat fluxes between the atmosphere and the ocean interior.
SWOT AdAC: What are your plans after the QUICCHE campaign?
JE: Working on the data, which can seem like a boring answer, but I’m very excited about that part as well! I think the science community will benefit greatly from this campaign, especially physical oceanography.