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Dr Mike Herzfeld

Principal Research Scientist


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Dr. Mike Herzfeld has been involved in investigation of regional seas for the past 26 years, including modelling ocean physics for the last 20 years, development of satellite processing systems and biogeochemical models. He is currently employed by CSIRO O&A as a hydrodynamic modeller, working within the coastal environmental modelling team (CEM) to maintain, develop and apply hydrodynamic models. During his career he has had extensive experience developing numerous hydrodynamic models, including Princeton Ocean Model (POM), Modular Ocean Model (MOM) and Model of Estuaries and Oceans (MECO). Mike was the architect for the biogeochemical model developed and used by the University of Western Australia. Mike is responsible for the development of the current coastal hydrodynamic modeling platform in use by O&A, and its application to numerous case studies on the Australian shelf and coastal margins. Mike is also a member of the GODAE Coastal Ocean and Shelf Seas Task Team (COSS-TT), and attends their international meetings annually.

The in-house regional hydrodynamic model developed by Mike uses a unique methodology which is able to handle complicated geometries such as those found in estuaries. This model has been adopted by various institutions and students around Australia, and fellow researchers within CSIRO, and has been published in the international literature. Through extensive calibration and validation exercises comparing model output with field data, Mike has significantly improved the model and at the same time considerably developed the CEM team’s understanding of how different ecosystems function. The coupling of the hydrodynamic, biogeochemical and sediment models provides CEM with a unique capability to address coastal environmental issues. Recently this model has been re-written to operate on unstructured meshes.

The CMAR model has been applied to several major case studies around Australia by Mike, the most recent and significant being the eReefs marine models. The model outputs combined with Mike’s well developed understanding of physical processes in coastal ecosystems has assisted industry and government departments in sustainable marine management. Examples include predicting ecological impacts of salmon aquaculture in the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, the role of the Fitzroy Estuary in delivering nutrients from the catchment to the Great Barrier Reef, the implication of residual circulation in Port Curtis Estuary for pollutant management, and the impact of extreme events on tuna aquaculture in Spencer Gulf. Mike has also been heavily involved in the BLUElink project where his role was to develop an automated relocatable ocean model as part of the ROAM product. This model is currently used by Royal Australian Navy in an operational capacity.