Exploring the upper ocean

Tandon Laboratory at UMass Dartmouth

Category: Uncategorized (page 1 of 9)

Debarshi presents at Sigma Xi exhibit, UMass Dartmouth

Debarshi with his poster

Tandon lab PhD student Debarshi Sarkar presented his poster “Inaccuracies in Reanalysis Products: A Case Study in Arabian Sea from 2017 to 2018”, at the Sigma Xi poster exhibit, UMass Dartmouth on April 17th and 18th, 2024.

Aurelia MUST-V Kickoff Meeting

(L-R) Dr. Amit Tandon, Dr. Ruolin Zhou, Dr. Lauren Freeman, Dr. Oliver Sun and Patrick Pasteris with Aurelia

After a successful proposal to the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Marine and Undersea Technology Program V (MUST V), Tandon Labs kicked off its first meeting for the continued development  of the Aurelia Upper Ocean Profilers. In attendance were two NUWC partners Lauren Freeman and Oliver Sun, the co-principal investigators Dr. Amit Tandon and Dr. Ruolin Zhou, as well as Research Technician and Aurelia inventor Patrick Pasteris.

The kickoff meeting signifies the beginning of 3 years of funding towards the continue development of the Aurelia UOP, which is a low-cost ultra-lightweight buoyancy vehicle being developed at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. The profiler is focused on the upper 200m of the ocean and is meant to be an inexpensive alternative to the high-cost deep ocean profilers currently being deployed.

Over the course of this program, the Aurelia UOP will see a complete redesign of the electrical system into a single circuit board to ease production and assembly, increase reliability and also reduce power consumption. The software system will also receive a large upgrade, with multiple ease-of-use implementations planned including a brand new user-interface, real-time data visualization as well as improved mission planning and data offloading. The mechanical system isn’t being overlooked; a parking brake mechanism as well as the exploration of form factors and other improvements to the buoyancy pump will be investigated and implemented.

Sid Kerhalkar participates in the 3MT Thesis competition at UMass Dartmouth

Sid presenting at 3 MT thesis competition

Sid Kerhalkar recently participated in a 3 MT thesis competition held in Grand Reading Room at UMass Dartmouth. Organized by Office of the Associate Provost for Graduate Studies, Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is a research communication competition which challenges graduate research students (PhD and Masters by Research) to present a compelling oration on their thesis topic and its significance in just three minutes.  The competition develops academic, presentation, and research communication skills and supports the development of research students’ capacity to effectively explain their research in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.

It was indeed an interesting experience for Sid to narrow his research within a 3 minute pitch.

Tandon lab members participate in UMass IMS Symposium 2024

On March 27, 2024, the Inter-campus Marine Science (IMS) of University of Massachusetts (UMass) hosted an symposium at the School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST). The event brought together students and faculties from various UMass campuses to showcase their latest findings and innovations in marine science. One of the highlights of the symposium was Sid Kerhalkar (a 5th year PhD candidate in the Tandon Lab), who was invited as a plenary speaker. Sid captivated the audience with his talk on the physics of hurricanes, drawing on insights from our recently concluded field trip to the Arabian Sea where we sampled the ocean post-hurricane (read more about the field campaign here).

Sid Kerhalkar presenting a plenary talk

Debarshi Sarkar (1st year PhD student) presented his research on biases in reanalysis fluxes in the Arabian Sea through a compelling poster and a lightning talk. His work with Sid and Dr. Tandon as co-authors shed light on the biases in the Arabian Sea meteorological and flux variables.

Debarshi Sarkar presenting a lightning talk on his research

In addition to his plenary talk, Sid was voted with the best “Marine-Science” themed photo award in the symposium’s photo contest. Sid’s winning photograph captured the most essential instrument associated with oceanography, the CTD rosette. Overall, the UMass IMS symposium proved to be a fruitful gathering for the Tandon lab members.

Sid’s photo contest winning picture!

Joint meeting with Mahadevan Lab, WHOI

Members of Tandon lab and Mahadevan lab after the group meeting at SMAST

On March 15, 2024, Tandon Lab welcomed members from the Mahadevan Lab (Drs Amala Mahadevan, Alex Kinsella and Nihar Paul) for a collaborative group meeting. The session proved to be a melting pot of expertise, with members engaging in lively discussions spanning a broad spectrum of research areas. From the intricacies of clouds and atmospheric convection to the dynamics of air-sea interaction and ocean transport, every facet of ocean and atmospheric science found representation. The dialogue extended to topics as diverse as hurricane wakes, mooring designs for right whale monitoring, and beyond. This convergence of minds highlighted the commitment to interdisciplinary collaboration, laying the groundwork for future projects, innovations in understanding and addressing complex issues in ocean research.

Dr. Tandon and Sid participate in Ocean Sciences Meeting 2024

In February 2024, the vibrant city of New Orleans became the focal point of ocean, atmosphere and marine biosphere research as Dr. Tandon and Sid (a PhD candidate in Tandon Lab)  participated in the prestigious Ocean Sciences Meeting. This gathering, organized by AGU, ASLO and TOS, and renowned for its interdisciplinary approach to marine research, provided a platform for scientists and scholars to share insights and innovations shaping the future of oceanography.

Dr Amit Tandon and Sid Kerhalkar at OSM 2024

Dr. Tandon presented a poster on reanalysis flux biases in the Arabian Sea. Drawing on research conducted by his PhD student, Debarshi (who could not attend due to class schedules), Dr. Tandon shed light on the biases in the Arabian Sea meteorological and flux variables, which could play a significant role in the forecasting errors in sub-seasonal to seasonal weather over Indian subcontinent. The poster sparked discussions and offered valuable perspectives for identifying and addressing biases in reanalysis fluxes, a critical aspect of understanding air-sea coupling. Dr Tandon was also a co-author on 6 other presentations/posters.

Dr Amit Tandon explaining the poster


Sid Kerhalkar presenting a talk

One of those included Sid, who talked about Hurricane wake recovery in the Arabian Sea. His presentation highlighted one-of-a-kind observational field campaign, which braved high waves to sample the hurricane wake and showcase the role of wind and density gradients coupling to drive lateral  processes to recover the wake. Sid’s insights stirred up an interesting conversation among experts, who initially believed that surface forcing was the only important process in the recovery of the wake.

The Ocean Sciences Meeting served as a melting pot of ideas and collaborations, where Dr. Tandon, Sid, and countless other researchers (including former members and collaborators of Tandon Lab) exchanged knowledge and forged partnerships for future research in marine science.

Dr Tandon and his extended group consisting of collaborators, students, former students and post-docs.

Dr Tandon with some of EKAMSAT Team

Breakthrough Insights Emerged from MISO-BOB Campaign Aircraft Observations Over Indian Ocean

In a pioneering mission, a group of researchers (including Dr Amit Tandon) participating the Monsoon Intra-Seasonal Oscillations in the Bay of Bengal (MISO-BOB) field campaign, funded by the US Office of Naval Research, has provided groundbreaking insights into the tropical supercluster dynamics over the equatorial Indian Ocean.

In a study led by Dr Phadtare from University of Notre Dame, observations were collected using a WC-130J aircraft operated by Air Force’s 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, which delved into the heart of the action during the summer monsoon seasons of 2018 . Dropsonde observations revealed a captivating variance of zonal winds within the supercluster. The upper troposphere favored easterlies, while the lower troposphere exhibited prevailing westerlies, creating a unique atmospheric stratification just below the 0°C level.

Of particular interest was the cold pool at the center of the supercluster. It maintained a consistent easterly component, with the coldest temperatures registering a 2.5°C drop at the center. The depth of the cold pool varied, reaching its deepest at the rear/western end and shallower at the front/eastern end, measuring at around 300 meters. A key revelation was the identification of the level of free convection (LFC) at the front end. On the eastern flank, researchers observed zonal convergence between the westerlies within the supercluster and ambient easterlies at lower tropospheric levels. This suggested the uplifting of conditionally unstable air parcels above LFC due to convergence, rather than the influence of the cold pool.

Conversely, the western flank exhibited low-level zonal divergence, further supporting the concept of ‘self-similarity’ between mesoscale convective systems and large-scale waves.

The MISO-BOB campaign’s findings provide a leap forward in our understanding of monsoon intra-seasonal oscillations. The data obtained from these aircraft observations holds promise for refining climate models and advancing our ability to predict tropical weather patterns, contributing to more effective global weather predictions in the future.

More information about this article can be found here. Congratulations Dr Phadtare and team!


A schematic of the observations taken by the WC130J aircraft in the supercluster. (Adapted from Figure 10 of Phadtare et al. 2024)

Members of Tandon Lab participated in the Geophysical Flows: From the Field to the Lab- Workshop and Discussion Meeting

Sid with his poster

Dr. Amit Tandon and PhD students, Siddhant (Sid) Kerhalkar and Debarshi Sarkar, recently participated in the ‘Geophysical Flows: From the Field to the Lab- Workshop and Discussion Meeting’  at Chennai, India from January 05 to 09, 2024 (workshop) and January 10 to 12, 2024 (discussion meeting). This workshop and discussion meeting aimed to achieve two objectives: providing an improved understanding of the climate dynamics relevant to the Indian subcontinent to the scientific community actively engaged by the Geophysical Flows Lab at IIT Madras; and to train young scientists and researchers from across the globe, mentored by Indian and foreign researchers.

Debarshi with his poster

Sid and Dr. Tandon contributed to the discussion meeting with a presentation titled “Observations of Cyclone Biparjoy’s cold wake recovery”. Alongside participating in discussions, Sid and Debarshi presented posters on their research topics. Sid’s poster focused on “Lateral Gradients in Diurnal Warm Layers in the Bay of Bengal”, while Debarshi presented on “Air-Sea Reanalysis Flux Biases in the Arabian Sea: A Case Study from 2017-2018”. Additionally, both Sid and Debarshi were involved in group projects as a part of the workshop assigned by the group leaders and organizers. Sid worked on “Near-inertial Oscillations in the North Indian Ocean: A case study”, and Debarshi focused on “Evolution of SST Across Arabian Sea During May-June 2020”.

Sid and Debarshi are grateful to the workshop organizers for this opportunity. Their travel to attend this workshop were additionally funded by the various UMass Dartmouth travel grants as well as ONR.

Patrick Pasteris defends his Master’s thesis

We are thrilled to announce that Patrick Pasteris, a Master’s student in Tandon Lab, defended his master’s thesis on November 10, 2023. He worked on the Aurelia Upper Ocean Profiler (UOP), a revolutionary solution to the financial constraints plaguing upper ocean observations, for his thesis. Inspired by the Aurelia jellyfish genus, the Aurelia UOP is engineered for upper-ocean profiling within the top 200 meters, utilizing a unique buoyancy engine mechanism and integrating wireless connectivity.

Patrick’s journey with this profiler began with a 2016 Senior Capstone project, which saw the evolution of a groundbreaking idea into the Aurelia UOP. Mentoring five multidisciplinary Capstone teams and guided by Dr. Amit Tandon, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, alongside committee members Dr. Alice Pietri and Dr. John Buck, Pasteris successfully navigated the challenges of developing this affordable and user-friendly oceanic research device.

The Aurelia UOP Lite, the culmination of Patrick’s thesis research which involved a series of tank and ocean tests, is a compact 10lb device capable of reaching depths of 50m. This innovation not only signifies a significant milestone in oceanic research but also holds the promise of advancing weather forecasting and enhancing maritime safety through cost-effective upper ocean monitoring. The Aurelia UOP Lite stands as a testament to the power of interdisciplinary collaboration and ingenuity, paving the way for a new era in scientific exploration.

Congratulations Patrick!


Patrick (left) with his thesis committee members: Dr Amit Tandon (first from right), Dr John Buck (second from right) and Dr Alice Pietri (virtual)

Filipe featured on the UMassD feature story

Dr. Filipe Pereira was recently featured in the Feature stories section of UMassD. Find more about his motivating academic journey so far, which had its own challenges, as well as what the future holds for him here (including his upcoming appointment in Scripps Institution of Oceanography as a UC president’s fellow!).

Congratulations Filipe!

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