Deirdre A. Byrne
Lead, Ocean Physics and Remote Sensing Group also
and Oceans and Coasts, Department of Environmental Affairs, South Africa
Acting Lead, Information Systems Group Private Bag X4390
v: +27 021-819-5100 Cape Town 8000
f: South Africa
Ph. D., Columbia University (2000)

I am interested in the regional physical oceanography of southern Africa, with a focus on information with economic and societal impact. My current work is looking at the seasonal cycles of the shelf regions around South Africa, and anomalies from these. I am working with the Pathfinder SST v5.3 Climate Data Record, and soon with the POES-GOES blended SST (both NOAA products).

Much of my time is spent on the strategic direction, planning and implementation of operational ocean observing systems for South Africa, including moored buoy systems, shore-based HF radar, remote sensing, autonomous platforms, and information systems and IT infrastructure/architecture for ocean sciences. I have extensive project management and supervisory experience.

I am also involved in promoting the development of operational ocean numerical modelling for South Africa and the establishment of infrastructure and IT capacity to support it.

Some of my previous (academic) work includes:

The circulation and thermohaline balances of the ocean on global and regional scales. My current research focuses on the the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC), a component of the global thermohaline circulation (THC), and its role in seasonal to decadal climate change. I'm particularly interested in the net effects of mesoscale phenomena and mesoscale variability on the AMOC, and in the development of improved methodologies for measuring and monitoring mesoscale and sub-mesoscale flows on interbasin scales.

The ASTTEX field project, 2003 - 2005, in the Cape Basin of the South Atlantic Ocean. The goal of ASTTEX was to resolve interocean fluxes (Indian to Atlantic) at a high resolution both spatially and temporally, and to be able to distinguish the independently varying components of the interocean salt and heat fluxes. ASTTEX stands for "Agulhas-South Atlantic Thermohaline Transport Experiment". The 16 moorings deployed by ASTTEX formed the largest array deployed to date in the South Atlantic Ocean; the array stretched approximately 900 km across the Cape Basin. ASTTEX was supported by NSF and NASA.

I have also worked extensively with altimeter data around Africa, with an eye to measuring the interocean fluxes remotely. This work was supported by the NASA New Investigator Program (NIP).

Last but not least, I used high-resolution (POP) model output in the Agulhas region to investigate how high-frequency motion may be aliased into time series of transports made from altimetry and to measure the seasonal-to-interannual variability of the Benguela Current. This work was supported by the NASA Ocean Surface Topography program.

Related interests are to find ways to accurately predict vertical structure in the ocean (i.e., salinity, temperature, density, baroclinic velocity) from integrated measures. In particular I have been very involved in the development of new techniques which integrate of satellite altimetry with moored inverted echo sounder (PIES) data promising new technology for monitoring oceanic fluxes in areas of complex stratification.

I believe that the creative exploration and visualization of data is an important source for the discovery of new scientific knowledge and techniques. I use Matlab (tm) almost exclusively for that purpose and have written several Matlab packages to assist in the process: a GUI for the The OPeNDAP project as well as a standalone package called STAPLOT for hydrographic analysis. STAPLOT is not currently being maintained. I do everything on the linux operating system if I possibly can.

Educational Profile
Ph.D. 2000, Columbia University, Physical Oceanography (doctoral advisor: Arnold L. Gordon)
M. Phil. 1997, Columbia University, Physical Oceanography
M.A. 1993, Columbia University, Physical Oceanography
B.S. 1990, Geophysical Fluid Dynamics, Yale University
Co-Lean Ocean Physics Group, Oceans and Coastal Research, Branch: Oceans and Coasts, Department of Environmental Affairs, South Africa, 2015 - present
Acting Unit Lead, Surface Oceanography Unit, NOAA/National Oceanographic Data Center, 2013 - 2015
Lead, Satellite Oceanography Team, NOAA/National Oceanographic Data Center, 2010 - 2015
Research Assistant Professor, School of Marine Sciences, U. Maine, 2003 - 2010
Assistant Research Scientist, School of Marine Sciences, U. Maine, 1997 - 2003
Instructor, Descriptive Physical Oceanography 330 and 598, School of Marine Sciences, U. Maine, 2001 & 2002
Marine Remote Sensing Analyst, the Island Institute, 1996 - 1997
Graduate Research Assistant, Lamont-Dohery Earth Obs., Columbia U., 1990-1996
Teaching Asst., Dept. of Geological Sciences, Columbia U. 1992 & 1994
Professional Activities
Courses and Workshops Developed & Taught
Data Management in Oceanography, Module for Operational Oceanography M Sc, U Cape Town
Understanding Climate Change (for MS and HS science and math teachers)
Descriptive Physical Oceanography (undergrad/grad) - SMS 330/598 U. Maine
Investigating Ocean Temperatures in the Gulf of Maine (7-8 grade) - Expanding Your Horizons in Science and Mathematics at the University of Maine
Selected Honors, Visiting Appointments, Elected Offices
NASA Ocean Surface Topography Science Team, 2004 - 2009
NASA New Investigator, 2003 - 2007
GoodHope Steering Committee, 2003-present
IAPSO Young Scientist Travel Award, 2001
Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society, 1999-2010
Editors' Citation for Excellence in Refereeing, J. Geophys. Res. Oc., 1998
NASA Global Change Reseach Fellowship, 1993-1996
IAPSO Invitational Workshop Inter-Basin Exchanges in the Southern Hemisphere, 1994
IAPSO Student Travel Award, 1994
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory (Ocean Science Group) visiting student scientist, 1994
ONR Student Oceanography Award ,The Oceanography Society Scientific Meeting, Seattle, 1993
American Geophysical Union
American Meteorological Society
The Oceanography Society
Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society (inactive)
April 2005: Agulhas-South Atlantic Thermohaline Transport Experiment (ASTTEX) , RRS Discovery, 21 days. WOCE standard. Co-Chief scientist.
January 2003: Agulhas-South Atlantic Thermohaline Transport Experiment (ASTTEX) , R/V Melville, 12 days. WOCE standard. Chief scientist.
July 1998: Ecology of Harmful Algal Blooms (ECOHAB). R/V Cape Hatteras, cruise 1098, 15 days. Assistant scientist; supervisor, CTD & ADCP ops.
May-June 1993: Benguela Sources and Transport (BEST) . RRS Discovery, cruise 202, 30 days. WOCE standard. Assistant scientist; supervisor, Dissolved Oxygen lab.
May-June 1992: Ice Station Weddell (ISW). R/V IB Nathaniel B. Palmer, cruise 92-2, 30 days. WOCE standard. Assistant scientist; assistant, Dissolved Oxygen lab.
Pro Bono/Synergistic Activities
Served on Panel of Experts and lead editor for Chapter 4: The Ocean's Role in the Hydrological Cycle, World Ocean Assessment I (United Nations, 2015)
M Sc and Ph D thesis review for the University of Cape Town University lead for Climate to Curriculum, 2008-2010, a Title II project to improve science teaching in Maine's middle and high schools
Sponsor and co-developer of "Understanding Climate Change" a middle school teacher enrichment workshop, 2006-2008
Expanding Your Horizons in Science and Mathematics workshop presenter, Satellite Sea Surface Temperature
in the Gulf of Maine
(1999, 2001, 2002)
Manuscript review for Deep-Sea Res., Geophys Res. Let., J. Geophys Res. Oc., J. Phys. Oceanogr., and various monographs
Proposal review and panel service for the NSF, NASA, and NOAA
Publications (not up to date!!!)
Books, Journal Articles, Conference Presentations, etc.
Byrne, D.A., D.R. Watts, D.L. Witter and S.L. Garzoli, 2001. ASTTEX: Monitoring Indian-South Atlantic Thermohaline Fluxes , IAPSO biennial meeting (October 21-26), Mar del Plata, Argentina (poster IW01-32).

Thomas, A., D. Byrne and R. Weatherbee, 2001. Coastal Sea Surface Temperature Variability from Landsat Infrared Data, Remote Sens. Env., 81, 262-272.

Byrne, D.A., 2000. From the Agulhas to the South Atlantic: Measuring Inter-ocean Fluxes , Ph. D. thesis., 181 pp., Columbia Univ., New York.

Byrne, D.A., 2000. Eddies in the South Atlantic: Remote Monitoring of Inter-ocean Thermohaline Transport , AGU Ocean Sciences Meeting (January 24-28), San Antonio, TX, OS12D-17.

Kamenkovich, V. M., Y. P. Leonov, D. A. Nechaev, D. A. Byrne, and A. L. Gordon, 1996. On the Influence of Bottom Topography on the Agulhas Eddy, J. Phys. Oc., 26 , 892-912.

Byrne, D. A., A. L. Gordon and W. F. Haxby, 1995. Agulhas Eddies: A Synoptic View Using Geosat ERM Data, J. Phys. Oc., 25 , 902-917.

Byrne, D. A., 1993. Agulhas Eddies: A Synoptic View Using Geosat ERM Data, TOS Third Scientific Meeting (April 13-16), Seattle, WA (poster I-GCW-403).

Byrne, D.A., 1992. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, AGU Fall Meeting (December 7-11), San Francisco, CA (oral).

Halliwell, G. R., P. Cornillon, and D. A. Byrne, 1991. Westward-propagating SST Anomaly Features in the Sargasso Sea, 1982-88, J. Phys. Oc., 21, 635-649.

Last updated: 2017/06/01 Email:
Copyright © 2001,2008,2010,2017 Deirdre A. Byrne
All Rights Reserved.