About me

Hello! I am a physical oceanographer and PhD candidate at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University. I use in-situ and satellite observations to study surface ocean processes.


High salinity shelf water (HSSW) in the Terra Nova Bay polynya

I am funded by a NASA FINESST grant to characterize high salinity shelf water (HSSW) formation in Terra Nova Bay, Ross Sea, Antarctica using near-surface mooring data, meteorological measurements, and satellite sea ice concentration products. HSSW is a major component of Antarctic Bottom Water, a water mass that fills the lowest kilometer of the world’s oceans and is important to our understanding of past and future climate. HSSW is formed in coastal polynyas, which are openings in the sea ice created by strong winds known as katabatic winds.
We are working to produce 1) novel estimates of ice and HSSW production rates in the polynya using in-situ moored salinity measurments, and b) a process study of HSSW production on time scales ranging from seasonal to hourly.

Turbulence scaling in the Stratus region upper ocean

Measurements of turbulence kinetic energy (TKE) dissipation rate (ε) are key to understanding how heat, gas, and other climate-relevant properties are transferred across the air-sea interface and mixed within the ocean. A relatively new method for measuring ε from moored pulse-coherent Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers (ADCPs) allows for observations of ε with concurrent surface flux and wave measurements across an unprecedented length of time and range of conditions. Here, I analyze 9 months of moored ε measurements at ~8m depth to assess how well tradiational Monin-Obukhov scalings as well as newer Stokes drift-based scalings perform in the Southeast Pacific ocean.
Turbulence regime diagram (see Belcher et al., 2012) suggesting the relative contributions to TKE by convection, Langmuir circulation, and wind-generated current shear at the Stratus mooring site. Solid and dashed lines indicate regions where 90% and 60%, respectively, of overall TKE is estimated to be generated by a single forcing


Zippel, S, J. T. Farrar, C. J. Zappa; U. K. Miller , L. St. Laurent, T. Ijichi, R. A. Weller; L. McRaven; D. Le Bel. (2021). TKE Dissipation Rate Estimates from Pulse-Coherent ADCPs on Moorings . Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology

Wurl, O., K. Bird, M. Cunliffe, W. M. Landing, U. Miller, N. I. H. Mustaffa, et al. (2018). Warming and inhibition of salinization at the ocean's surface by cyanobacteria. Geophysical Research Letters , 45, 4230–4237.

Johnson, H. P., U. Miller, M. S. Salmi, E. A. Solomon, (2015). Analysis of bubble plume distributions to evaluate methane hydrate decomposition on the continental slope. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems , 16, 3825-3839.

Hautala, S. L., E. A. Solomon, H. P. Johnson, R. N. Harris, U. Miller (2014). Dissociation of Cascadia margin gas hydrates in response to contemporary ocean warming . Geophysical Research Letters , 41, 8486-8494.


Some outreach activities I've been involved in are PyClub , Girls Who Code @ Columbia University , LDEO Open House and Girls' Science Day at Columbia . I really enjoy showing young people that science and coding is not just for "geniuses" or solemn-faced men clad in white lab coats!

To see the Girls Who Code lesson I developed to introduce NumPy, Matplotlib, and Pandas, click here

To see the PyClub lesson I developed on Pandas, click here

To see a silly video about life on oceanographic research cruises I made for Open House 2020 using media that my friends and I have collected while out at sea, click here