Mark Hadfield

Job title and place of work

Marine Physics Modeller, NIWA Wellington

What is your role in the CARIM project? What work package are you contributing to?


My colleague Helen MacDonald and I are using models of coastal and ocean physical processes (currents, heating and cooling, river input, rainfall and evaporation) that also represent biological processes (plankton growth and decay) and chemical processes (nutrients, oxygen and carbon dioxide). We are applying these to Hauraki Gulf and Firth of Thames to investigate coastal acidification.

What do you do on an average work day?

I run models on a supercomputer and produce graphs and movies of the results. Sometime (but not very often) I compare the model results with measurements. In the model results you can see lots of cool stuff like up-welling of cool, nutrient-rich waters, river flood events, bursts of plankton growth and the constant exchange of water between the eddies in the deep ocean and the continental shelf.

Why is studying coastal acidification important?

It's one significant stressor on our marine environment.

What study did you do at high school? And after high school?

I always loved physics. It was my favourite subject at high school and I majored in it at university. Also a bit of mathematics, chemistry, geology, biology and environmental science. I did my PhD in Atmospheric Physics in Colorado and moved to studying ocean physical processes after that.

What outcomes from CARIM do you think there will be?

A better understanding of coastal acidification rates in New Zealand and contributing factors, in part from the models we will produce.

What excites you about working on this project?

It's another opportunity to use our ability to represent the complicated processes of water movement and exchange and relate them to biological processes. But it's the physics that excites me.