Ocean physics and ecology: satellite and climate model data analysis

Jonathan Tran


Engineering and Applied Sciences


Assistant Professor, Earth & Environmental Science

Project Summary

For the summer of 2021, I had the fortunate opportunity to work with Dr. Marinov’s ocean and climate group. The goal of this project is to create plots that demonstrate the impacts and prevalence of climate change. By highlighting climate change’s social, economic, and diplomatic repercussions, we hope to inspire solutions to this global issue. Using data visualization we are able to portray the current state of our oceans and future climate projections. We analyze data from satellites and global climate models, paying particular attention to phytoplankton dynamics. Phytoplankton are responsible for approximately half of all photosynthesis performed on Earth. This makes them critical to understanding our oceans and global climate.
While participating in this project, I have learned a lot about ocean ecology. It has been fascinating being exposed to literature on topics like the atmosphere and the carbon cycle. I have also been able to build on my coding experience by learning Python. By the end of the summer, I was able to create plots like global maps of sea surface temperature and correlation plots between nitrate and phytoplankton biomass. Learning about statistics has also allowed us to study and interpret plots that we code in Python.
In a broader sense, I was also able to grasp what professional research entails. Improving my ability to collaborate with others is a skill that will be useful outside this project. Being able to support each other helps accelerate research and create a more inclusive work environment. I am extremely grateful for this research experience and everything that I have learned.