Skidaway Institute receives research grant to study ocean currents

Skidaway Institute of Oceanography professor Dana Savidge has been awarded a research grant from the National Science Foundation for $207,450 to study ocean currents called Langmuir Supercells.

Dana Savidge WebLangmuir circulation cells occur during strong winds and waves, and appear as long lines of bubbles or floating material aligned with the wind on the ocean surface.

“These lines are the surface expression of currents beneath the surface,” said Savidge. “The Langmuir cells are like huge counter-rotating jelly-rolls, aligned longways with the wind, with currents spiraling from the ocean surface into the deep and back up, while also moving downwind.”

Savidge has been observing Langmuir circulation on the Georgia shelf using a custom built acoustic Doppler profiler, which uses sound waves to monitor the movement of the ocean water. When Langmuir cells reach the sea floor, the so-called ‘supercells’ can pick up sediment and organic material, transport it high up into the water and carry it long distances horizontally. While Langmuir currents have been studied for years, they have only recently been observed reaching the sea floor.

“Our measurements suggest this process may affect sediments all across Georgia’s shelf, from the shallow near-shore environments out to the shelf edge in 50 meters of water,” Savidge said.

Savidge will use the new grant to define how these cells interact with strong tides and surface heating in Georgia’s ocean waters. She will be working closely with scientists and computer modelers from Old Dominion University (Virginia) and the University of South Florida to develop ways of including these turbulent processes in models used to predict ocean circulation and horizontal transport of the material it contains.


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One Response to “Skidaway Institute receives research grant to study ocean currents”

  1. sapna gopal Says:

    Dear sir/mam,

    I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself as Sapna Gopal, senior assistant editor for Planet Earth, a monthly magazine on environmental issues and earth sciences, being brought out by Gateway Media in collaboration with the Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India. I’m working on a story on ocean currents and in this regard, I want some information for the article. Here are my queries:
    1. What are ocean currents and how significant is it to understand them?
    2. How do currents keep the oceans together?
    3. What is their influence on climate change?
    4. Does the earth’s climate system have an ‘Achilles’ heel’? Is it, in any way, connected to the oceans?
    5. Are worrisome signals developing in the ocean? If so, what are the causes? Also, how can such signals be identified?
    6. How do currents carry food for fish, turtles and the rest of the marine life?

    Thanks and regards,
    Sapna Gopal (Ms) | Sr Asst editor | Planet Earth
    Plot # 761, Road No 39, Jubilee Hills | Hyderabad 500033 | A.P | INDIA
    Tel: +91 (40) 2355 0991 | Fax: +91 (40) 2355 0994 | HP: +91 9490148192
    E-mail : | URL :
    Company Profile:
    Gateway Media Pvt. Ltd. Is a Hyderabad based organisation, publishing niche magazines such as Maritime Gateway, Geospatial Today and GeoJunior. Our recently-launched magazine, Planet Earth is an initiative that will serve as a platform for the discussion of interrelationships between changes the Earth is undergoing, how human habits trigger them, and industry initiatives that are environment friendly. The publication has won the support of experts and visionaries with academic and professional superiority, who can address vital issues and provide insight into the strategies that could pave way for a better, greener Earth.

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