Dr. Jay holds a Bachelors degree in Chemical Physics from Pomona College, a Masters of Science from State University of New York in Marine Environmental Studies, and a PhD in Physical Oceanography from the University of Washington. He has worked in the public sector for local government, and in the private sector as a consultant in physical oceanography. He has held academic positions at three universities and is presently a Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Portland State University, in Portland, OR. He has been a process scientist and has participated in management of the Columbia River and other coastal systems for 39 years. His research interests span a range of topics and scales including estuarine circulation and sediment transport, stratified flows and turbulent mixing, river basin-scale hydrology, buoyant plumes, local and basin-scale tides, tidal analysis methods, history of tidal measurements, coastal system comparison, climate and human impacts on coastal ecosystems, coastal ecosystem science, and marine transportation. Management issues he has been involved in include: New York Harbor pollution, San Francisco Bay salinity intrusion, Pacific Northwest salmonid recovery, Columbia River navigational impacts and safety, the Lower Columbia River sediment budget, and hydropower impacts and management in several systems.
Dr. Jay is an internationally recognized expert on river tides and has pioneered the analysis of non-stationary tides -- making use of the fact that tidal properties are not constant over time. Quantifying variations in the tidal regime of a port can be used to improve tidal predictions where tides are influenced, for example, by fluctuating river flow. Non-stationary tides also provide a diagnostic tool for understanding the long-term evolution of coastal system due to such factors as sea level rise, dredging and removal of wetlands. Also, determining the response of tides to forcing by river flow, winds, and sea-ice is useful in developing better numerical models of tides. On larger spatial scales, the tidal regimes of the North American Atlantic and Pacific Coasts are evolving, with tidal ranges increasing at many US Pacific coastal locations. At locations where sea level is also increasing and/or storms are becoming stronger, likely future tidal amplitudes need to be evaluated for planning of coastal infrastructure and prediction of future storm inundation. To analyze non-stationary tides, Dr. Jay has developed a variety of new analysis methods using wavelet transforms and statistical techniques. He is also interesting in recovering historic tide data collected before 1950 for analysis of trends in sea level and tidal properties.