Patrick Cummins

Current research and/or projects

I am a research scientist with the Ocean Sciences division at the Institute of Ocean Sciences . There are three general themes to my research. The first focuses on the coastal waters of British Columbia and involves studies of the estuarine flow, wind-driven circulation, and barotropic and internal tides of the region. Diane Masson and I have been developing and applying numerical models to understand the intensive observations of the waters of the Georgia/Fuca basin collected over recent years. This includes analyses of the distribution of chemical concentrations within the estuary, and of the interannual variability of the system.

A second major focus has been on the causes and mechanisms of long-term variability over the northeast Pacific Ocean. I have been developing relatively simple models to help interpret observations of long term change as revealed, for example, by satellite altimeter data. Of particular interest is an understanding of the influence of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation over the region and developing indices that may be useful to monitor local climatic changes of the upper ocean.

Finally, I am also involved in process studies on the interaction of stratified flows with the bottom topography of the ocean, especially the observations of hydraulic flow over the sill in Knight Inlet British Columbia and associated phenomena. This includes the generation of internal solitary waves, a type of motion that occurs in coastal oceans across the world and is important in mixing and pumping nutrients to the surface layer. Patrick Cummins is co-editor of Atmosphere - Ocean. Atmosphere-Ocean is published by the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society. The journal is a medium for publication of the results of original research in all fields of the atmospheric, oceanographic and hydrological sciences.

Research and/or project statements

There are three general themes to my research. The first focuses on the coastal waters of British Columbia and involves studies of the estuarine flow, wind-driven circulation, and barotropic and internal tides of the region. Diane Masson and I have been developing and applying numerical models to understand the intensive observations of the waters of the Georgia/Fuca basin collected over recent years. This includes analyses of the distribution of chemical concentrations within the estuary, and of the interannual variability of the system. A second major focus has been on the causes and mechanisms of long-term variability over the northeast Pacific Ocean. I have been developing relatively simple models to help interpret observations of long term change as revealed, for example, by satellite altimeter data. Of particular interest is an understanding of the influence of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation over the region and developing indices that may be useful to monitor local climatic changes of the upper ocean. Finally, I am also involved in process studies on the interaction of stratified flows with the bottom topography of the ocean, especially the observations of hydraulic flow over the sill in Knight Inlet British Columbia and associated phenomena. This includes the generation of internal solitary waves, a type of motion that occurs in coastal oceans across the world and is important in mixing and pumping nutrients to the surface layer.

Professional activities / interests

Patrick Cummins is co-editor of Atmosphere - Ocean. Atmosphere-Ocean is published by the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society. The journal is a medium for publication of the results of original research in all fields of the atmospheric, oceanographic and hydrological sciences.

Key publications

  1. Masson, D. and P.F. Cummins. 2007. Temperature trends and interannual variability in the Strait of Georgia, British Columbia. Continental Shelf Research. doi: 10.1016/j.csr.2006.10.009.
  2. Foreman, M.G.G, P.F. Cummins, J.Y. Cherniawsky and P. Stabeno, 2007. Tidal energy in the Bering Sea. J. Mar. Res. 64:797-818.
  3. Cummins, P.F., L. Armi and S. Vagle. 2006. Upstream internal hydraulic jumps. J. Phys. Oceanogr. 36(5):753-769.
  4. Cummins, P.F. and L. Armi. 2006. The influence of boundary layer separation and a lee-side pool of dense fluid on establishment of downslope flows. Proceedings of the 6th International Symposium on Stratified Flows. Perth, Australia.
  5. Cummins, P.F., G.S.E. Lagerloef and G. Mitchum. 2005. A regional index of northeast Pacific variability based on satellite altimeter data. Geophysical Research Letters. 32:L17607 doi:10.1029/2005GL023642.
  6. Freeland, H.J. and P.F. Cummins. 2005. Argo: a new tool for environmental monitoring and assessment of the world's oceans, an example from the N.E. Pacific. Progress in Oceanography. 64:31-44.
  7. Garrett, C. and P. Cummins. 2005. Power potential of tidal currents in channels. Proceedings of the Royal Society, Series A. 461:2563-2572.
  8. Cummins, P.F. and G.S. E. Lagerloef. 2004. Wind-driven interannual variability over the Northeast Pacific. Deep-Sea Research. 51:2105-2121.
  9. Foreman, M.G.G., Sutherland, G. and P.F. Cummins. 2004. M2 Tidal Dissipation around Vancouver Island: An Inverse Approach. Continental Shelf Research. 24:2167-2185.
  10. Garrett, C. and P.F. Cummins. 2004. Generating tidal power from currents. Journal of Waterway, Port, Coastal and Ocean Engineering. 130:14:118.
  11. Masson, D. and P.F. Cummins. 2004. Observations and modeling of seasonal variability in the Straits of Georgia and Juan de Fuca. Journal of Marine Research. 62:491-516.
  12. Cummins, P.F., S. Vagle, L. Armi and D.M. Farmer. 2003. Stratified flow over topography: upstream influence and generation of nonlinear internal waves. Proc. R. Soc. Lond., A . 459:1467-1487.
  13. Cummins, P.F. and G.S. Lagerloef. 2002. Low frequency pyncnocline depth variability at station P in the northeast Pacific. J. Phys. Oceanog., 32(11):3207-3215.
  14. Cummins, P.F., J.Y. Cherniawsky, and M.G.G. Foreman. 2001. North Pacific internal tides from the Aleutian Ridge: Altimeter observations and modeling. Journal of Marine Research. 59(2):167-191.
  15. Merryfield, W.J., P.F. Cummins and G. Holloway. 2001. Equilibrium statistical mechanics of barotropic flow over finite topography. J. Phys. Oceanog. 31:1880-1890.
  16. Masson, D. and P.F. Cummins. 2000. Fortnightly modulation of the estuarine circulation in Juan de Fuca Strait. J. Mar. Res. 58:439-463.
  17. Cummins, P.F. 2000. Stratified flow over topography: Time-dependent comparisons between model solutions and observations. Dyn. Atmos. Ocean. 33, 43-72.
  18. Cummins, P.F. 2000. Remarks on potential vorticity mixing over topography and momentum conservation. Deep-Sea Res. 47:737-743.
  19. Cummins, P.F., D. Masson and M.G.G. Foreman. 2000. Stratification and mean flow effects on diurnal tidal currents off Vancouver Island. J. Phys. Oceanog., 30:15-30.
  20. Bourque, M.-C., P.H. LeBlond and P.F. Cummins. 1999. Effects of tidal currents on Pacific salmon migration: Results from a fine-resolution coastal model. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 56:839-846.
  21. Crawford W.R., J.Y. Cherniawsky and P.F. Cummins. 1999. Surface currents in British Columbia waters: Comparison of observations and model predictions. Atmosphere-Ocean. 37:255-280.
  22. Masson, D. and P.F. Cummins. 1999. Numerical simulations of a buoyancy-driven countercurrent off Vancouver Island. J. Phys. Oceanog. 29(3):418-435.
  23. Crawford, W.R., J.Y. Cherniawsky, P.F. Cummins and M.G.G. Foreman. 1998. Variability of tidal currents in a wide strait: A comparison between drifter observations and numerical simulations. J. Geophys. Res. 103:12,743-12,759.
  24. Cummins, P.F. and M.G.G. Foreman. 1998. A numerical study of circulation driven by mixing over a submarine bank. Deep-Sea Res. 45:745-769.
  25. Cummins, P.F. and M. Li. 1998. Comments on "Energetics of borelike internal waves"'. J. Geophys. Res. 103:3339-3341.
  26. Li, M. and P.F. Cummins. 1998. A note on hydraulic theory of internal bores. Dyn. Atmos. Oceans. 28:1-7.
  27. Cummins, P.F. and L.Y. Oey. 1997. Simulation of barotropic and baroclinic tides off northern British Columbia. J. Phys. Oceanog., 27:762-781.
  28. Foreman, M.G.G. and P.F. Cummins. 1997. Three-dimensional model simulations off the west coast of Vancouver Island. Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Estuarine and Coastal Modeling. Alexandria VA, October 22-24, 1997.
  29. Cummins, P.F. 1995. Relative angular momentum balances of quasi-geostrophic circulation models. J. Mar. Res. 53: 315-340.
  30. Cummins, P.F., 1995. Numerical simulations of upstream bores and solitons in a two-layer flow past an obstacle. J. Phys. Ocean. 25:1504-1515.
  31. Cummins, P.F., D. Topham and H. Pite. 1994. Simulated and experimental two-layer flows past isolated two-dimensional obstacles. Fluid Dyn. Res. 14:105-119.
  32. Cummins, P.F. and G. Holloway. 1994. On eddy-topographic stress representation. J. Phys. Ocean. 24:700-706.
  33. Cummins, P.F. and G.K. Vallis. 1994. Algorithm 732: Solvers for self-adjoint elliptic problems in irregular two-dimensional domains. ACM Trans. Math. Softw., 20:247-261.
  34. Cummins, P.F. and H.J. Freeland. 1993. Observations and modelling of wind-driven currents in the Northeast Pacific. J. Phys. Ocean. 23:488-502.
  35. Weaver, A.J., Marotzke J., Cummins, P.F. and E.S. Sarachik. 1993. Stability and variability of the thermohaline circulation. J. Phys. Ocean. 23:39-60.
  36. Cummins, P.F. 1992. Inertial gyres in decaying and forced geostrophic turbulence. J. Mar. Res. 50:545-566.
  37. Cummins P.F. 1991. The barotropic response of the subpolar North Pacific to stochastic wind forcing. J. Geophys. Res. 96:8869-8880.
  38. Cummins, P.F. 1991. The deep water stratification of ocean general circulation models. Atmosphere-Ocean. 29:563-575.
  39. Cummins, P.F., G. Holloway and A.E. Gargett. 1990. Sensitivity of the GFDL ocean circulation model to a parameterization of vertical diffusion. J. Phys. Ocean. 20:817-830.