Brian Arbic is an Associate Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, with an appointment in the Department of Climate and Space Sciences Engineering and affiliations with Applied and Interdisciplinary Mathematics, Applied Physics, and the Center for the Study of Complex Systems. Arbic is a physical oceanographer primarily interested in the dynamics and energy budgets of oceanic mesoscale eddies (the oceanic equivalent of atmospheric weather systems), the large-scale oceanic general circulation, and tides. He has also studied paleotides, tsunamis, and the decadal variability of subsurface ocean temperatures and salinities. His primary tools are numerical models of the ocean. Arbic uses both realistic models, such as the HYbrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM) being used as a U.S. Navy ocean forecast model, and idealized models. He frequently compares the outputs of such models to oceanic observations, taken with a variety of instruments. Comparison of models and observations helps us to improve models and ideas about how the ocean works. His research has often been interdisciplinary, involving collaborations with scientists outside of my discipline, such as glaciologists, geodynamicists, and marine geophysicists.
The surface expression of the M_2 principal lunar semidiurnal internal tide — the tide that arises due to the stratification of the ocean. The top panel shows analysis of satellite altimetry data, while the bottom shows results from HYCOM, run by collaborators at the Naval Research Laboratory. (Shriver, et al 2012)