The new wave of oceanographers: Margot Demol

PhD student investigating ocean circulation and surface dynamics at fine scales.

Margot Demol is a PhD student at the he Physical and Space Oceanography Laboratory (LOPS) in Plouzané, France.

SWOT AdAC: What is your research field and how did you choose it?

Margot Demol: I study the physics of the ocean, and more specifically the circulation and surface dynamics at fine scale (i.e. processes with spatial extent less than 100 km and temporal scales less than one month such as eddies, fronts or internal wave signatures). Already passionate about physics, I chose this discipline because I was attracted by the ocean, where I grew up. Many of the physical processes that occur in the ocean are still relatively unknown and observations are limited, so it is a fantastic field of research.

SWOT AdAC: What is the link between your research field and SWOT?

MD: One way of observing surface ocean circulation and dynamics is by measuring sea level changes with satellite altimetry. The SWOT satellite is equipped with a brand-new generation KaRIn (Ka-band Radar Interferometer) that will provide us with these sea level measurements with unprecedented coverage, accuracy and spatial resolution, allowing us to observe finer scale surface processes.

SWOT AdAC: What excites you about SWOT and the C-SWOT campaign in which you will be participating?

MD: SWOT is expected to revolutionize our observation of the ocean by perhaps finally allowing us to observe sub-mesoscale processes through altimetry. During the first months of its orbit and the C-SWOT campaign, the satellite will pass over the Mediterranean Sea every day and then every 20 days, which is also a great opportunity to observe rapid temporal variability. The measurements condensed during this campaign – altimetry, drifting buoys, moorings, salinity/temperature profiles – constitute a very complete set of observations, giving hope for great analyses and discoveries.

My job on board will be to design and implement the deployment of drifting buoys (small buoys that follow the currents and whose displacement is tracked by GPS) under the satellite swaths.

SWOT AdAC: What are your plans after the campaign?

MD: I will continue my thesis and study how the synergy of the different data from this campaign (and hopefully from other SWOT AdAC campaigns) allows us to define and better understand the fine-scale surface ocean dynamics. I will also contribute to the Calibration/Validation of the SWOT data by comparing them with other in situ data sources.