McPhee Research Company

Naches, WA, United States

McPhee Research Company

Naches, WA, United States
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Peterson A.K.,University of Bergen | Peterson A.K.,Bjerknes Center for Climate Research | Fer I.,University of Bergen | Fer I.,Bjerknes Center for Climate Research | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans | Year: 2017

We report observations of heat and momentum fluxes measured in the ice-ocean boundary layer from four drift stations between January and June 2015, covering from the typical Arctic basin conditions in the Nansen Basin to energetic spots of interaction with the warm Atlantic Water branches near the Yermak Plateau and over the North Spitsbergen slope. A wide range of oceanic turbulent heat flux values are observed, reflecting the variations in space and time over the five month duration of the experiment. Oceanic heat flux is weakly positive in winter over the Nansen Basin during quiescent conditions, increasing by an order of magnitude during storm events. An event of local upwelling and mixing in the winter-time Nansen basin highlights the importance of individual events. Spring-time drift is confined to the Yermak Plateau and its slopes, where vertical mixing is enhanced. Wind events cause an approximate doubling of oceanic heat fluxes compared to calm periods. In June, melting conditions near the ice edge lead to heat fluxes of O(100 W m−2). The combination of wind forcing with shallow Atlantic Water layer and proximity to open waters leads to maximum heat fluxes reaching 367 W m−2, concurrent with rapid melting. Observed ocean-to-ice heat fluxes agree well with those estimated from a bulk parameterization except when accumulated freshwater from sea ice melt in spring probably causes the bulk formula to overestimate the oceanic heat flux. © 2017. The Authors.

Stevens C.L.,NIWA - National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research | Stevens C.L.,University of Auckland | McPhee M.G.,McPhee Research Company | Forrest A.L.,University of Tasmania | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans | Year: 2014

In situ measurements of flow and stratification in the vicinity of the Erebus Glacier Tongue, a 12 km long floating Antarctic glacier, show the significant influence of the glacier. Three ADCPs (75, 300, and 600 kHz) were deployed close (<50 m) to the sidewall of the glacier in order to capture near-field flow distortion. Scalar (temperature and conductivity) and shear microstructure profiling captured small-scale vertical variability. Flow magnitudes exceeded 0.3 m s-1 through a combination of tidal flow (8 cm s-1) and a background/residual flow (4-10 cm s-1) flowing to the NW. Turbulence was dominated by deeper mixing during spring tide, likely indicative of the role of bathymetric variation which locally forms an obstacle as great as the glacier. During the neap tide, near-surface mixing was as energetic as that seen in the spring tide, suggesting the presence of buoyancy-driven near-surface flows. Estimates of integrated dissipation rate suggest that these floating extensions of the Antarctic ice sheet alter energy budgets through enhanced dissipation, and thus influence coastal near-surface circulation. Key Points A blocking layer is generated by the floating glacier Tidal rectification or substantial residual flow results in tidal asymmetry Upper water column mixing is at least as strong during neap tides as spring © 2014. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

McPhee M.G.,McPhee Research Company | Stevens C.L.,NIWA - National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research | Stevens C.L.,University of Auckland | Smith I.J.,University of Otago | Robinson N.J.,NIWA - National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research
Ocean Science | Year: 2016

Late winter measurements of turbulent quantities in tidally modulated flow under land-fast sea ice near the Erebus Glacier Tongue, McMurdo Sound, Antarctica, identified processes that influence growth at the interface of an ice surface in contact with supercooled seawater. The data show that turbulent heat exchange at the ocean-ice boundary is characterized by the product of friction velocity and (negative) water temperature departure from freezing, analogous to similar results for moderate melting rates in seawater above freezing. Platelet ice growth appears to increase the hydraulic roughness (drag) of fast ice compared with undeformed fast ice without platelets. Platelet growth in supercooled water under thick ice appears to be rate-limited by turbulent heat transfer and that this is a significant factor to be considered in mass transfer at the underside of ice shelves and sea ice in the vicinity of ice shelves. © Author(s) 2016.

Sirevaag A.,University of Bergen | De La Rosa S.,University of Bergen | Fer I.,University of Bergen | Nicolaus M.,Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research | And 3 more authors.
Ocean Science | Year: 2011

A comprehensive measurement program was conducted during 16 days of a 3 week long ice pack drift, from 15 August to 1 September 2008 in the central Amundsen Basin, Arctic Ocean. The data, sampled as part of the Arctic Summer Cloud Ocean Study (ASCOS), included upper ocean stratification, mixing and heat transfer as well as transmittance solar radiation through the ice. The observations give insight into the evolution of the upper layers of the Arctic Ocean in the transition period from melting to freezing. The ocean mixed layer was found to be heated from above and, for summer conditions, the net heat flux through the ice accounted for 22 % of the observed change in mixed layer heat content. Heat was mixed downward within the mixed layer and a small, downward heat flux across the base of the mixed layer accounted for the accumulated heat in the upper cold halocline during the melting season. On average, the ocean mixed layer was cooled by an ocean heat flux at the ice/ocean interface (1.2 W m−2) and heated by solar radiation through the ice (-2.6 W m−2). An abrupt change in surface conditions halfway into the drift due to freezing and snowfall showed distinct signatures in the data set and allowed for inferences and comparisons to be made for cases of contrasting forcing conditions. Transmittance of solar radiation was reduced by 59 % in the latter period. From hydrographic observations obtained earlier in the melting season, in the same region, we infer a total fresh water equivalent of 3.3 m accumulated in the upper ocean, which together with the observed saltier winter mixed layer indicates a transition towards a more seasonal ice cover in the Arctic. © 2011 Author(s).

Sirevaag A.,University of Bergen | Sirevaag A.,Bjerknes Center for Climate Research | McPhee M.G.,McPhee Research Company | Morison J.H.,University of Washington | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans | Year: 2010

Sea ice plays a crucial role in the exchange of heat between the ocean and the atmosphere, and areas of intense air-sea-ice interaction are important sites for water mass modification. The Weddell Sea is one of these sites where a relatively thin first-year ice cover is constantly being changed by mixing of heat from below and stress exerted from the rapidly changing and intense winds. This study presents mixed layer turbulence measurements obtained during two wintertime drift stations in August 2005 in the eastern Weddell Sea, close to the Maud Rise seamount. Turbulence in the boundary layer is found to be controlled by the drifting ice. Directly measured heat fluxes compare well with previous studies and are well estimated from the mixed layer temperatures and mixing. Heat fluxes are also found to roughly balance the conductive heat flux in the ice; hence, little freezing/melting was observed. The under-ice topography is estimated to be hydraulically very smooth; comparison with a steady 1-D model shows that these estimates are made too close to the ice-ocean interface to be representative for the entire ice floe. The main source and sink of turbulent kinetic energy are shear production and dissipation. Observations indicate that the dynamics of the under-ice boundary layer are influenced by a horizontal variability in mixed layer density and an increasing amount of open leads in the area. Copyright 2010 by the American Geophysical Union.

Skogseth R.,University Center in Svalbard | McPhee M.G.,McPhee Research Co | Nilsen F.,University Center in Svalbard | Nilsen F.,University of Bergen | Smedsrud L.H.,University of Bergen
Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans | Year: 2013

Hydrographical measurements from the Storfjorden polynya document the presence of an abrupt front in near-freezing water dividing saline water recently created by a polynya event, from less saline water originating further south. This event occurred days before the survey with estimated heat flux ∼400 W m-2 over the polynya. Brine-enriched shelf water (BSW) is observed downslope toward deeper parts of Storfjorden, and BSW from earlier polynya events overflows the sill. Current measurements from a nearby sound, Freemansundet, document tidal currents exceeding 80 cm s-1 that displaced the front back and forth beneath the measurement site on fast ice ∼400 m from the polynya edge. Front displacement of ∼12 km is documented and mainly due to the M2 component superimposed on a mean residual current of 0.28 m s-1 into the sound induced by southerly wind during the survey. Complex topography imposes baroclinic tidal currents with strong vertical shear in the fast ice-covered sound, and with significant cross-channel flow. Supercooling events indicated in the hydrographical time series, and likely enhanced frazil ice production, are associated with double-diffusive turbulent mixing when the salinity front passes. In this way, these measurements indicate a novel ice production process along the edge of tidally induced latent heat polynyas where salinity fronts are generated. Turbulence increases (decreases) during flood (ebb) due to the destabilization (stabilization) of the water column when the salinity front passes the measurement site. Double-diffusive turbulent mixing related to tidal advection of salinity front below fast ice is pursued in a companion paper. ©2013. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

McPhee M.G.,McPhee Research Co. | Skogseth R.,University Center in Svalbard | Nilsen F.,University Center in Svalbard | Nilsen F.,University of Bergen | Smedsrud L.H.,University of Bergen
Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans | Year: 2013

Measurements near the edge of fast ice in Freemansundet, Svalbard, reveal mixing processes associated with tidal advection of a sharp front in salinity, including possible supercooling induced by double diffusion in a fully turbulent water column. The front translated back and forth with the semidiurnal tide between an area of mobile (drifting) ice in Storfjorden proper, and the narrow sound covered by fast ice. Water on each side of the front was near its salinity-determined freezing temperature. Instruments deployed about 400 m into the sound from the fast ice edge measured current, temperature, conductivity, and turbulence quantities through several tidal cycles. Turbulence data illustrate that as the steep horizontal salinity (density) gradient advected past the measurement site, vertical shear near the fast-ice base induced marked flood/ebb asymmetry in turbulent mixing. As fresher water entered the sound on the flood phase, inward transport of denser water near the upper boundary was retarded, leading to statically unstable conditions and enhanced turbulence. The opposite occurred during ebb tide, as denser water underran lighter. Transient episodes of supercooling accompanied frontal passage on both flood and ebb phases. The most likely explanation for a zone of supercooled water within the strongly mixed frontal region is that during mixing of fresher, slightly warmer (but still at freezing) water from outside with saltier, colder water in the sound, the former constituent lost heat faster than gaining salt. This interpretation (differing turbulent diffusivities for heat and salt) challenges strict application of Reynolds analogy for highly turbulent shear flow. ©2013. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

Alkire M.B.,Oregon State University | Falkner K.K.,Oregon State University | Morison J.,University of Washington | Collier R.W.,Oregon State University | And 4 more authors.
Deep-Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers | Year: 2010

Here we report the first optical, sensor-based profiles of nitrate from the central Makarov and Amundsen and southern Canada Basins of the Arctic Ocean. These profiles were obtained as part of the International Polar Year program during spring 2007 and 2008 field seasons of the North Pole Environmental Observatory (NPEO) and Beaufort Gyre Exploration Program (BGEP). These nitrate data were combined with in-situ, sensor-based profiles of dissolved oxygen to derive the first high-resolution vertical NO profiles to be reported for the Arctic Ocean. The focus of this paper is on the halocline layer that insulates sea ice from Atlantic water heat and is an important source of nutrients for marine ecosystems within and downstream of the Arctic. Previous reports based on bottle data have identified a distinct lower halocline layer associated with an NO minimum at about S=34.2 that was proposed to be formed initially in the Nansen Basin and then advected downstream. Greater resolution afforded by our data reveal an even more pronounced NO minimum within the upper, cold halocline of the Makarov Basin. Thus a distinct lower salinity source ventilated the Makarov and not the Amundsen Basin. In addition, a larger Eurasian River water influence overlies this halocline source in the Makarov. Observations in the southern Canada Basin corroborate previous studies confirming multiple lower halocline influences including diapycnal mixing between Pacific winter waters and Atlantic-derived lower halocline waters, ventilation via brine formation induced in persistent openings in the ice, and cold, O2-rich lower halocline waters originating in the Eurasian Basin. These findings demonstrate that continuous sensing of chemical properties promises to significantly advance understanding of the maintenance and circulation of the halocline. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

Mcphee M.G.,McPhee Research Company
Journal of Climate | Year: 2013

Continuous sampling of upper-ocean hydrographic data in the Canada Basin from various sources spanning from 2003 through 2011 provides an unprecedented opportunity to observe changes occurring in a major feature of the Arctic Ocean. In a 112-km-radius circle situated near the center of the traditional Beaufort Gyre, geopotential height referenced to 400 dbar increased by about 0.3 gpm from 2003 to 2011, and by the end of the period had increased by about 65% from the climatological value. Near the edges of the domain considered, the anomalies in dynamic height are much smaller, indicating steeper gradients.Arough dynamic topography constructed from profiles collected between 2008 and 2011 shows the center of the gyre to have shifted south by about 2° in latitude, along the 150°W meridian. Geostrophic currents are much stronger on the periphery of the gyre, reaching amplitudes 5-6 times higher than climatological values at grid points just offshore from the Beaufort and Chukchi shelf slopes. Estimates of residual buoy drift velocity after removing the expected wind-driven component are consistent with surface geostrophic currents calculated from hydrographic data. A three-decade time series of integrated ocean surface stress curl during late summer near the center of the Beaufort Gyre shows a large increase in downward Ekman pumping on decadal scales, emphasizing the importance of atmospheric forcing in the recent accumulation of freshwater in the Canada Basin. Geostrophic current intensification appears to have played a significant role in the recent disappearance of old ice in the Canada Basin. © 2013 American Meteorological Society.

McPhee M.G.,McPhee Research Company
Cold Regions Science and Technology | Year: 2012

Variation of ice/ocean drag (momentum exchange) is an important yet often overlooked aspect of pack ice modeling. It is commonly parameterized as proportional to the square of the velocity difference between the ice and the undisturbed ocean, often with a constant angle offset to account for rotational effects in the ice-ocean boundary layer. This approach is critiqued in light of extensive observations that have revealed the underlying turbulence scales governing momentum exchange within the IOBL. Fluid dynamical similarity implied by these scales provides a framework for addressing several factors that affect the drag relationship, including variation in ice roughness, relative drift speed, buoyancy flux at the ice/ocean interface, and stratification in the upper ocean. These are examined and discussed in light of recent changes in the Arctic ice pack. The drag law is formulated in terms of dimensionless surface velocity, which in its simplest form is called Rossby similarity, and accounts explicitly for variation in undersurface hydraulic roughness, z 0. A generalization that includes interfacial buoyancy flux is also described and illustrated, and the impact of near surface ocean stratification is discussed. Estimates of z 0 based on underice measurements vary widely; by a combination of observations and simple IOBL modeling, an attempt is made to reduce these to a manageable set associated with distinct ice types. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.

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