The new wave of oceanographers: Peiran Yang

Postdoctoral researcher investigating the dynamics of mesoscale and submesoscale processes focusing on the generation of eddy heat transport and its impact on climate in the North West Pacific.

Peiran Yang got her PhD from the Ocean University of China, Qingdao, Shandong province, China, and is currently a post-doc researcher at Laoshan Laboratory. She is one of the researchers involved in the SWOT-AdAC North West Pacific campaign.

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

Peiran Yang: I’m now investigating the dynamics of mesoscale and submesoscale processes focusing on the generation of vertical eddy heat transport and its impact on climate. It is one of the frontiers in physical oceanography as the role of finescale processes in climate system remains unclear. Although the mesoscale and submesoscale processes show strong nonlinearity and complexity, it is attractive to unravel their dynamics with the help of powerful computational power. It is like playing a puzzle game with the help of governing equations and ocean simulations.

SWOT-AdAC: How is your field of research related to SWOT?

PY: The mesoscale processes are resolved and the submesoscale processes at mid- and low-latitude are partly resolved by the SWOT altimetry measurement with a spatial resolution of ~10 km. Therefore, the SWOT mission will help to understand the distribution and the variability of finescale process and test the dynamics we obtained from simulations.

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?

PY: In the past, oceanic finescale processes could only be studied using simulations and single position mooring arrays. SWOT provided the first tool to look into them with global coverage and long temporal coverage. This will revolutionize our understanding of the distribution and variability of finescale processes. I will help with validating the SWOT data collected in the fast-sampling phase and estimating the vertical heat and buoyancy transport with mooring, glider, and SWOT observations at the location of the North West Pacific campaign. This will advance our understanding of the role finescale process played in the ocean energy pathway and shaping the thermal structure of the upper ocean.

SWOT-AdAC: What are your plans after the North West Pacific campaign?

PY: After the North West Pacific campaign, I will continue to work on the dynamics of mesoscale and submesoscale processes. With the help of SWOT altimetry datasets, other observational datasets, and model simulations, I tend to refine the existing parameterization of vertical eddy heat transport in climate models.