Nathan J. M. Laxague
Postdoctoral Research Scientist

fluid dynamics at the air-sea interface


Who I Am; What I Do

I am a postdoctoral research scientist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University. I work with Dr. Christopher Zappa in the Division of Ocean and Climate Physics.

I am an observationalist; I make field and laboratory measurements and use them to study the small-scale fluid mechanical interactions between the Earth’s atmosphere and oceans. My particular area of interest involves short-scale wind waves and their role in the mediation of physical air-sea fluxes.

Presently, I'm part of an exciting project (called Ikaaġvik Sikukun) which approaches the topic of sea ice breakup in the Arctic by bridging scientific inquiry with traditional knowledge.

If you'd like more information, please see my ResearchGate page or click the “CURRICULUM VITAE” link below.


A ten-second video of ocean surface wave evolution, with color indicating wave slope. This segment was acquired in the Pacific Ocean using a polarimetric camera. The wobbling of the camera field of view is due to the slight motion of the platform, the R/P FLIP.

Measuring currents in the uppermost layer of the Earth’s oceans. [LINK]

A multi-sensor approach to describing how ocean current varies with depth. Each zoom from A -> B -> C focuses on a layer of the sea which is closer to the air-sea interface. Panel C shows the first measurements made of the current profile in the upper centimeters of the ocean.


Observing centimeter-scale ocean wave characteristics. [LINK]

A sample of small-scale ocean surface topography is represented on the left, with measurements made using a polarimetric camera. The panel on the right shows the wavenumber saturation spectrum computed from this wave field. Its color represents spectral energy density; brighter colors indicate the scales which hold the greatest amount of wave energy and in which directions they propagate.


Investigating the role of transient wind forcing in air-sea momentum flux. [LINK]

The outputs of wavelet transforms on wind velocity in the alongstream, crossstream, and vertical components. Red indicates the upward flux of momentum and blue indicates the downward flux of momentum. By using these wavelet transforms, we are able to describe the timing and scale information of turbulent eddies which transfer momentum between the atmosphere and ocean.