Project Info

Observing interaction between ocean currents and surface waves

Gwendal Marechal

Project Goals and Description:

The NASA Submesoscale Ocean Dynamics Experiment (S-MODE) offers a unique opportunity for undergraduate students to engage in cutting-edge physical oceanography research. In this research project, you will work with data collected from autonomous platforms, called Saildrones, during the S-MODE mission. Using these datasets, you will investigate ocean-current-induced wave variability observed during the S-MODE field campaigns. You will gain experience in data analysis techniques and will learn how to apply the scientific method to understand the dynamics of small-scale ocean currents and their interactions with ocean surface waves. Your work will contribute to a better understanding of the transport of energy, heat, and mass between the ocean and the atmosphere, which is crucial for understanding and predicting the Earth's climate. As part of this project, you will work closely with researchers and students from Mines Oceanography, and receive training in state-of-the-art data analysis methods, programming, and scientific communication.

More Information:

Grand Challenge: Not applicable.

Primary Contacts:

Gwendal Marechal, | Bia Villas Bôas,

Student Preparation


  • Basic statistics
  • Basic Python programming
  • Motivation to learn about physical oceanography and climate




  • Develop knowledge of physical oceanography and ocean waves.
  • Develop data analysis skills
  • Gain experience in best practices of scientific computing and software development, including version control, unit testing, and documentation.
  • Practice collaborative software development and project management through GitHub


The student will be co-mentored by Dr. Marechal and Dr. Villas Bôas through weekly meetings, where guidance and feedback on the project's progress will be provided. The student will also be welcome to join the weekly meetings of the Mines Oceanography team, where there will be opportunities for networking, developing scholarship, and interacting with other team members. Depending on the student's progress and interest, there is the potential for submitting the results of this project for publication in a scientific journal.


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