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Zoltan Szuts

Principal Oceanographer





Department Affiliation

Ocean Physics


B.A. Biology, Oberlin College, 2001

M.S. Oceanography, University of Washington, 2004

Ph.D. Oceanography, University of Washington, 2008


2000-present and while at APL-UW

FlowPilot: Shoreside autonomy for profiling floats

Szuts, Z., T. Harrison, T. Curtin, B. Kirby, and B. Ma, "FlowPilot: Shoreside autonomy for profiling floats," Proc., OCEANS, 25-28 September, Biloxi, MS, doi:10.23919/OCEANS52994.2023.10337384 (MTS/IEEE, 2023).

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11 Dec 2023

Over the last twenty years, profiling floats have revolutionized ocean observations with globally distributed Lagrangian arrays performing fixed vertical sampling cycles. Here we investigate adaptive sampling with an array of inter-dependent floats guided by a software package called FlowPilot, which uses all available float measurements to select park depths that provide favorable drifts based on sampling goals. Drift predictions are performed with multiple prediction methods, including methods that use float data (drift velocity, geostrophic velocity calculations) or from external sources like numerical ocean forecast models. A skill-based weight is assigned to each method based on how accurately it predicts recent drifts. With this generalized approach to prediction, disparate methods can be combined numerically to permit multi-method optimization. The emergent skill of FlowPilot is tested and quantified by numerical simulations that minimize dispersion by keeping a grid of floats close to the center of the deployment box.

The scientific and societal uses of global measurements of subsurface velocity

Szuts, Z.B., and 12 others including J.B. Girton, "The scientific and societal uses of global measurements of subsurface velocity," Front. Mar. Sci., 6, 358, doi:10.3389/fmars.2019.00358, 2019.

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24 Jul 2019

Ocean velocity defines ocean circulation, yet the available observations of subsurface velocity are under-utilized by society. The first step to address these concerns is to improve visibility of and access to existing measurements, which include acoustic sampling from ships, subsurface float drifts, and measurements from autonomous vehicles. While multiple programs provide data publicly, the present difficulty in finding, understanding, and using these data hinder broader use by managers, the public, and other scientists. Creating links from centralized national archives to project specific websites is an easy but important way to improve data discoverability and access. A further step is to archive data in centralized databases, which increases usage by providing a common framework for disparate measurements. This requires consistent data standards and processing protocols for all types of velocity measurements. Central dissemination will also simplify the creation of derived products tailored to end user goals. Eventually, this common framework will aid managers and scientists in identifying regions that need more sampling and in identifying methods to fulfill those demands. Existing technologies are capable of improving spatial and temporal sampling, such as using ships of opportunity or from autonomous platforms like gliders, profiling floats, or Lagrangian floats. Future technological advances are needed to fill sampling gaps and increase data coverage.

Florida Current salinity and salinity transport: Mean and decadal changes

Szuts, Z.B., and C.S. Meinen, "Florida Current salinity and salinity transport: Mean and decadal changes," Geophys. Res. Lett., 44, 10,495-10,503, doi:10.1002/2017GL074538, 2017.

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28 Oct 2017

The Florida Current (FC) contributes to Atlantic circulation by carrying the western boundary flow of the subtropical gyre and the upper branch of meridional overturning circulation. Repeated FC hydrographic (velocity, salinity, and temperature) sections during 1982–1987 and 2001–2015 characterize its water mass structure and associated transport variability. On average, FC volume transport comes from subtropical North Atlantic water (NAW, 44%), Antarctic Intermediate Water (AAIW, 14%), surface water (SW, 27%), and an indistinct source (Rem 15%), while salinity transport relative to the average salinity along 26°N comes from NAW (55%), AAIW (0.2%), SW (30%), and Rem (15%). From 1982–1987 to 2001–2015, NAW, AAIW, and Rem salinified by 0.03–0.16 g kg-1 and increased the salinity anomaly transport by 3%. These patterns imply that advective salt transport by the FC (1) is sensitive to subtropical North Atlantic variability and (2) is partially decoupled from the volumetric pathway of the upper overturning branch.

More Publications

Acoustics Air-Sea Interaction & Remote Sensing Center for Environmental & Information Systems Center for Industrial & Medical Ultrasound Electronic & Photonic Systems Ocean Engineering Ocean Physics Polar Science Center