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Ryan Gilchrist

Ryan Gilchrist

Ryan Gilchrist

Email: r.gilchrist@uea.ac.uk

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I recently graduated from the University of East Anglia with a degree in MSci Meteorology and Oceanography. My studies focussed on renewable energy, fluid dynamics, and the physical interactions between the atmosphere and oceans.

My third year project involved numerically modelling the response of the ocean to a category five hurricane, using 1-Dimensional parameterization in Matlab. More recently, I have completed a research project entitled “Tidal Power in the Pentland Firth – Turbine-Flow Feedback Mechanisms in a Multi-Channel System”, which incorporated the use of TELEMAC2D to numerically model tidal stream farms of differing sizes, to assess resultant impacts on ocean dynamics. TELEMAC2D is an open source model, and the project involved heavy modification of FORTRAN code.

Over the summer, I participated in a week-long research project in Oban, Scotland, in which microstructure Seagliders were deployed for sensor testing purposes. I am hoping to use this experience in the future, to take observations relevant to my PhD research project.

Current research
“Dynamics and Mitigation of Mid-Water Column Oil Spills”

My PhD project will investigate the potential impacts of an oil spill in the Faroe-Shetland Channel (FSC). The FSC is a dynamically complex region of the ocean, featuring multiple water masses, mesoscale eddies, internal waves, extreme surface waves, and strong along-slope currents at the shelf edge. Deep water exploration is venturing further into this region, and these key processes need to be correctly modelled for emergency response purposes.

Specifically, the hypothesis that “mesoscale eddies and internal waves are important mechanisms for across-pycnocline mixing and across-slope transport of oil” will be investigated. To do this, I am hoping to use both pure hydrodynamic models (UKMO, FASTNEt), as well as CEFAS-operated spill models (OSCAR, Chemspill).

I am eager to investigate the potential use of Seagliders as part of a rapid response system for oil dispersion monitoring after a spill, and to do a sensitivity analysis of potential oil trajectories towards Marine Protected Areas. The outcome of this project will ideally be used to improve the advice on mitigation and rapid response measures, whilst reducing uncertainty when producing uncertainty plans for site development.

Grants
NERC Industrial CASE Studentship (48 Months)

Awards
2015: Alan Preston prize for outstanding work in oceanography (UEA)

Conferences
2014: UEA-Cefas Marine Modelling Symposium

Supervisory team:
Dr Robert Hall (UEA)
Prof Karen Heywood (UEA)
Dr John Bacon (Cefas)
Mr Jon Rees (Cefas)

Other relevant activities
-    Student Mentor: Bright Futures Residential Program, Holt Hall, Norfolk
-    Work Experience: WeatherQuest (UEA)
-    Teaching Assistant: Holt Hall, Norfolk
-    Forest Schools Helper: West Earlham Infant School, Norfolk
-    GreenWatch and WildlifeWatch leader: Great Fen Project, Woodwalton Fen, Cambridgeshire
-    Student Helper: “A Pinch of Salt”, UEA Open Day, Norfolk