Research

I am interested in coastal circulation forecasting, river plume dynamics, ocean turbulence associated with coastal mixing processes, data assimilation, and theory and numerical simulation of flow in estuarine, coastal, and continental shelf environments. I have been using the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS), Coupled-Ocean-Atmosphere-Wave- Sediment Transport Modeling System (COAWST), and General Ocean Turbulence Model (GOTM), for several years now to do ocean modelling.

I completed my Master at the Ocean University of China in Physical Oceanography with Dr. Xiaopei Lin as my advisor. I am currently a graduate student researcher with Dr. Robert Hetland at Texas A&M in the Department of Oceanography.

Pearl River Forecast System

The goal of this research is to develop a high-resolution forecast model in the Pearl River region of China. This forecast system is a fully operational ocean circulation forecast model on the South China Sea shelf for predicting temperature, salinity and currents. In the design and application plan, this system will be employed for investigating the coastal environments in the Pearl River Delta region including hypoxia, sediment distribution and transport, red tide forecast, pollutant tracking, and river plume evolution. So far, the real-time analysis and 7-day forecast of physical environment are operationally updated every day on the Pearl River Forecast Website.

Pearl River Hindcast Modelling

This research, in collaboration with Dr. Tingting Zu, is focused on better understanding the structure and evolution of Pearl River and its comparison with Mississippi/Atchafalaya River system. The model domian covers the entire Pearl River region and the northern shelf of South China Sea with a resolution of 1800m in horizontal and 30 layers in vertical. The water depth ranges from 5m to more than 3000m. The model was initialized on January 1, 2014, with the initial and open boundary conditions created from the Copernicus-Marine. The surface heat, momentum and salt fluxes were provided by the ERA-Interium. The model provides 3-hourly output for temperature, salinity, sea level, and currents.

Particle Tracking

Ongoing research, in collaboration with Dr. Kristen Thyng, is focused on the Lagrangian tracking errors due to temporal subsampling of numerical model output. Qualitatively, low temporal resolution will cause large tracking error, but we are trying to build a quantitative relation between those two factors. The preliminary result is that the missing energy ratio after subsampling will determine the tracking errors in a particle tracking simulation, which links the tracking error with the temporal resolution quantitatively. This research allows us to estimate better the errors in particle trajectories introduced by the choice of subsampling period which is helpful for properly setting up particle tracking simulations. The particle tracking tool is TracPy which is a Python wrapper of TRACMASS

Baroclinic Instability in River Plume

This research, under the advisement of Dr. Robert Hetland, is focused on better understanding the effects of wind forcing on suppression of baroclinic instabilities in far-field plume. Realistic simulation of Pearl River indicated that the submesoscale structures of plume instability disappear during the downwelling and upwelling seasons. So we hypothesize that the energy inputted into plume by the wind will enhance the mixing in the upper layer of the ocean and hence suppress the growth rate of the baroclinic instabilities. Result from the idealized simulation using the shelf strait model shows the suppression of baroclinic instabilities with the increasing of wind speed.

River Plume Prediction

The goal of this study is to understand how the wind forcing mechanisms control the plume structure and evolution, which leads us to quantify temporal resolution of wind forcing required for accurate plume prediction. The primary finding is that the energy of high-frequency part of the wind is weak to control the mixing in a plume and hence insignificant to influence the plume structure and evolution. This research will help us to understand the importance of high-frequency information in the wind and to determine an appropriate temporal resolution of wind forcing for the plume simulation.

Yellow Sea Warm Current

This study, under the guidance of Dr. Xiaopei Lin, is focused on the asymmetric structure of the continental shelf wave in the Yellow Sea and its impact on the westward shift of the Yellow Sea Warm Current (YSWC). YSWC is a winter intermittent current and exhibits the asymmetric response to the winter synoptic wind event. For the semienclosed double-shelf basin such as the Yellow Sea, the topographic connection at the end could cause the asymmetry of shelf wave. Our result shows that the evolution of the YSWC has a strong link with the propagation of the shelf wave, and the asymmetric characteristic of the upwind flow is caused by the asymmetric structure of the shelf wave because the current is constrained by the geostrophic balance.