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Jonathan D. Nash, Eric Kunze, Craig M. Lee, and Thomas B. Sanford

Abstract

Repeat transects of full-depth density and velocity are used to quantify generation and radiation of the semidiurnal internal tide from Kaena Ridge, Hawaii. A 20-km-long transect was sampled every 3 h using expendable current profilers and the absolute velocity profiler. Phase and amplitude of the baroclinic velocity, pressure, and vertical displacement were computed, as was the energy flux. Large barotropically induced isopycnal heaving and strong baroclinic energy-flux divergence are observed on the steep flanks of the ridge where upward and downward beams radiate off ridge. Directly above Kaena Ridge, strong kinetic energy density and weak net energy flux are argued to be a horizontally standing wave. The phasing of velocity and vertical displacements is consistent with this interpretation. Results compare favorably with the Merrifield and Holloway model.

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Daniel B. Whitt, Leif N. Thomas, Jody M. Klymak, Craig M. Lee, and Eric A. D’Asaro

Abstract

High-resolution, nearly Lagrangian observations of velocity and density made in the North Wall of the Gulf Stream reveal banded shear structures characteristic of near-inertial waves (NIWs). Here, the current follows submesoscale dynamics, with Rossby and Richardson numbers near one, and the vertical vorticity is positive. This allows for a unique analysis of the interaction of NIWs with a submesoscale current dominated by cyclonic as opposed to anticyclonic vorticity. Rotary spectra reveal that the vertical shear vector rotates primarily clockwise with depth and with time at frequencies near and above the local Coriolis frequency f. At some depths, more than half of the measured shear variance is explained by clockwise rotary motions with frequencies between f and 1.7f. The dominant superinertial frequencies are consistent with those inferred from a dispersion relation for NIWs in submesoscale currents that depends on the observed aspect ratio of the wave shear as well as the vertical vorticity, baroclinicity, and stratification of the balanced flow. These observations motivate a ray tracing calculation of superinertial wave propagation in the North Wall, where multiple filaments of strong cyclonic vorticity strongly modify wave propagation. The calculation shows that the minimum permissible frequency for inertia–gravity waves is mostly greater than the Coriolis frequency, and superinertial waves can be trapped and amplified at slantwise critical layers between cyclonic vortex filaments, providing a new plausible explanation for why the observed shear variance is dominated by superinertial waves.

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An T. Nguyen, Patrick Heimbach, Vikram V. Garg, Victor Ocaña, Craig Lee, and Luc Rainville

Abstract

The lack of continuous spatial and temporal sampling of hydrographic measurements in large parts of the Arctic Ocean remains a major obstacle for quantifying mean state and variability of the Arctic Ocean circulation. This shortcoming motivates an assessment of the utility of Argo-type floats, the challenges of deploying such floats due to the presence of sea ice, and the implications of extended times of no surfacing on hydrographic inferences. Within the framework of an Arctic coupled ocean–sea ice state estimate that is constrained to available satellite and in situ observations, we establish metrics for quantifying the usefulness of such floats. The likelihood of float surfacing strongly correlates with the annual sea ice minimum cover. Within the float lifetime of 4–5 years, surfacing frequency ranges from 10–100 days in seasonally sea ice–covered regions to 1–3 years in multiyear sea ice–covered regions. The longer the float drifts under ice without surfacing, the larger the uncertainty in its position, which translates into larger uncertainties in hydrographic measurements. Below the mixed layer, especially in the western Arctic, normalized errors remain below 1, suggesting that measurements along a path whose only known positions are the beginning and end points can help constrain numerical models and reduce hydrographic uncertainties. The error assessment presented is a first step in the development of quantitative methods for guiding the design of observing networks. These results can and should be used to inform a float network design with suggested locations of float deployment and associated expected hydrographic uncertainties.

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Leah Johnson, Craig M. Lee, Eric A. D’Asaro, Leif Thomas, and Andrey Shcherbina

Abstract

A coordinated survey between a subsurface Lagrangian float and a ship-towed Triaxus profiler obtained detailed measurements of a restratifying surface intensified front (above 30 m) within the California Current System. The survey began as downfront winds incited mixing in the boundary layer. As winds relaxed and mixing subsided, the system entered a different dynamical regime as the front developed an overturning circulation with large vertical velocities that tilted isopycnals and stratified the upper ocean within a day. The horizontal buoyancy gradient was 1.5 × 10−6 s−2 and associated with vorticity, divergence, and strain that approached the Coriolis frequency. Estimates of vertical velocity from the Lagrangian float reached 1.2 × 10−3 m s−1. These horizontal gradients and vertical velocities were consistent with submesoscale dynamics that are distinct from the classic quasigeostrophic framework used to describe larger-scale flows. Vertical and horizontal gradients of velocity and buoyancy in the vicinity of the float revealed that sheared currents differentially advected the horizontal buoyancy gradient to increase vertical stratification. This was supported by analyses of temperature and salinity gradients that composed the horizontal and vertical stratification. Potential vorticity was conserved during restratification at 16 m, consistent with adiabatic processes. Conversely, potential vorticity near the surface (8 m) increased, highlighting the role of friction in modulating near-surface stratification. The observed increase in stratification due to these submesoscale processes was equivalent to a heat flux of 2000 W m−2, which is an order-of-magnitude larger than the average observed surface heat flux of 100 W m−2.

Open access
Vigan Mensah, Magdalena Andres, Ren-Chieh Lien, Barry Ma, Craig M. Lee, and Sen Jan

Abstract

This study presents amended procedures to process and map data collected by pressure-sensor-equipped inverted echo sounders (PIESs) in western boundary current regions. The modifications to the existing methodology, applied to observations of the Kuroshio from a PIES array deployed northeast of Luzon, Philippines, consist of substituting a hydrography-based mean travel time field for the PIES-based mean field and using two distinct gravest empirical mode (GEM) lookup tables across the front that separate water masses of South China Sea and North Pacific origin. In addition, this study presents a method to use time-mean velocities from acoustic Doppler current profilers (ADCPs) to reference (or “level”) the PIES-recorded pressures in order to obtain time series of absolute geostrophic velocity. Results derived from the PIES observations processed with the hydrography-based mean field and two GEMs are compared with hydrographic profiles sampled by Seagliders during the PIES observation period and with current velocity measured concurrently by a collocated ADCP array. The updated processing scheme leads to a 41% error decrease in the determination of the thermocline depth across the current, a 22% error decrease in baroclinic current velocity shear, and a 61% error decrease in baroclinic volume transports. The absolute volume transport time series derived from the leveled PIES array compares well with that obtained directly from the ADCPs with a root-mean-square difference of 3.0 Sv (1 Sv ≡ 106 m3 s–1), which is mainly attributed to the influence of ageostrophic processes on the ADCP-measured velocities that cannot be calculated from the PIES observations.

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Craig S. Long, Alvin J. Miller, Hai-Tien Lee, Jeannette D. Wild, Richard C. Przywarty, and Drusilla Hufford

The National Weather Service (NWS), in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), now issues an Ultraviolet (UV) index forecast. The UV index (UVI) is a mechanism by which the American public is forewarned of the next day's noontime intensity of UV radiation at locations within the United States. The EPA's role in this effort is to alert the public of the dangerous health effects of overexposure to, and the accumulative effects of, UV radiation. The EPA also provides ground-level monitoring data for use in ongoing verification of the UVI. The NWS estimates the UVI using existing atmospheric measurements, forecasts, and an advanced radiative transfer model. This paper discusses the justification for a forecasted index, the nature of UV radiation, the methodology of producing the UVI, and results from verifying the UVI. Since the UVI is an evolving product, a short discussion of necessary improvements and/or refinements is included at the end of this article.

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Leif N. Thomas, John R. Taylor, Eric A. D’Asaro, Craig M. Lee, Jody M. Klymak, and Andrey Shcherbina

Abstract

The passage of a winter storm over the Gulf Stream observed with a Lagrangian float and hydrographic and velocity surveys provided a unique opportunity to study how the interaction of inertial oscillations, the front, and symmetric instability (SI) shapes the stratification, shear, and turbulence in the upper ocean under unsteady forcing. During the storm, the rapid rise and rotation of the winds excited inertial motions. Acting on the front, these sheared motions modulate the stratification in the surface boundary layer. At the same time, cooling and downfront winds generated a symmetrically unstable flow. The observed turbulent kinetic energy dissipation exceeded what could be attributed to atmospheric forcing, implying SI drew energy from the front. The peak excess dissipation, which occurred just prior to a minimum in stratification, surpassed that predicted for steady SI turbulence, suggesting the importance of unsteady dynamics. The measurements are interpreted using a large-eddy simulation (LES) and a stability analysis configured with parameters taken from the observations. The stability analysis illustrates how SI more efficiently extracts energy from a front via shear production during periods when inertial motions reduce stratification. Diagnostics of the energetics of SI from the LES highlight the temporal variability in shear production but also demonstrate that the time-averaged energy balance is consistent with a theoretical scaling that has previously been tested only for steady forcing. As the storm passed and the winds and cooling subsided, the boundary layer restratified and the thermal wind balance was reestablished in a manner reminiscent of geostrophic adjustment.

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Craig M. Lee, Thomas B. Sanford, Eric Kunze, Jonathan D. Nash, Mark A. Merrifield, and Peter E. Holloway

Abstract

Full-depth velocity and density profiles taken along the 3000-m isobath characterize the semidiurnal internal tide and bottom-intensified turbulence along the Hawaiian Ridge. Observations reveal baroclinic energy fluxes of 21 ± 5 kW m−1 radiating from French Frigate Shoals, 17 ± 2.5 kW m−1 from Kauai Channel west of Oahu, and 13 ± 3.5 kW m−1 from west of Nihoa Island. Weaker fluxes of 1–4 ± 2 kW m−1 radiate from the region near Necker Island and east of Nihoa Island. Observed off-ridge energy fluxes generally agree to within a factor of 2 with those produced by a tidally forced numerical model. Average turbulent diapycnal diffusivity K is (0.5–1) × 10−4 m2 s–1 above 2000 m, increasing exponentially to 20 × 10−4 m2 s–1 near the bottom. Microstructure values agree well with those inferred from a finescale internal wave-based parameterization. A linear relationship between the vertically integrated energy flux and vertically integrated turbulent dissipation rate implies that dissipative length scales for the radiating internal tide exceed 1000 km.

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Takamasa Tsubouchi, Sheldon Bacon, Yevgeny Aksenov, Alberto C. Naveira Garabato, Agnieszka Beszczynska-Möller, Edmond Hansen, Laura de Steur, Beth Curry, and Craig M. Lee

Abstract

This paper presents the first estimate of the seasonal cycle of ocean and sea ice heat and freshwater (FW) fluxes around the Arctic Ocean boundary. The ocean transports are estimated primarily using 138 moored instruments deployed in September 2005–August 2006 across the four main Arctic gateways: Davis, Fram, and Bering Straits, and the Barents Sea Opening (BSO). Sea ice transports are estimated from a sea ice assimilation product. Monthly velocity fields are calculated with a box inverse model that enforces mass and salt conservation. The volume transports in the four gateways in the period (annual mean ± 1 standard deviation) are −2.1 ± 0.7 Sv in Davis Strait, −1.1 ± 1.2 Sv in Fram Strait, 2.3 ± 1.2 Sv in the BSO, and 0.7 ± 0.7 Sv in Bering Strait (1 Sv ≡ 106 m3 s−1). The resulting ocean and sea ice heat and FW fluxes are 175 ± 48 TW and 204 ± 85 mSv, respectively. These boundary fluxes accurately represent the annual means of the relevant surface fluxes. The ocean heat transport variability derives from velocity variability in the Atlantic Water layer and temperature variability in the upper part of the water column. The ocean FW transport variability is dominated by Bering Strait velocity variability. The net water mass transformation in the Arctic entails a freshening and cooling of inflowing waters by 0.62 ± 0.23 in salinity and 3.74° ± 0.76°C in temperature, respectively, and a reduction in density by 0.23 ± 0.20 kg m−3. The boundary heat and FW fluxes provide a benchmark dataset for the validation of numerical models and atmospheric reanalysis products.

Open access
Peter H. Hildebrand, Wen-Chau Lee, Craig A. Walther, Charles Frush, Mitchell Randall, Eric Loew, Richard Neitzel, Richard Parsons, Jacques Testud, François Baudin, and Alain LeCornec

The ELDORA/ASTRAIA (Electra Doppler Radar/Analyese Stereoscopic par Impulsions Aeroporte) airborne Doppler weather radar was recently placed in service by the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the Centre d'étude des Environnements Terrestre et Planetaires in France. After a multiyear development effort, the radar saw its first field tests in the TOGA COARE (Tropical Oceans–Global Atmosphere Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere Response Experiment) field program during January and February 1993. The ELDORA/ASTRAIA radar (herein referred to as ELDORA) is designed to provide high-resolution measurements of the air motion and rainfall characteristics of very large storms, storms that are frequently too large or too remote to be adequately observed by ground-based radars. This paper discusses the measurement requirements and the design goals of the radar and concludes with an evaluation of the performance of the system using data from TOGA COARE.

The performance evaluation includes data from two cases. First, observations of a mesoscale convective system on 9 February 1993 are used to compare the data quality of the ELDORA radar with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration P-3 airborne Doppler radars. The large-scale storm structure and airflow from ELDORA are seen to compare quite well with analyses using data from the P-3 radars. The major differences observed between the ELDORA and P-3 radar analyses were due to the higher resolution of the ELDORA data and due to the different domains observed by the individual radars, a result of the selection of flight track past the storm for each aircraft. In a second example, the high-resolution capabilities of ELDORA are evaluated using observations of a shear-parallel mesoscale convective system (MCS) that occurred on 18 February 1993. This MCS line was characterized by shear-parallel clusters of small convective cells, clusters that were moving quickly with the low-level winds. High-resolution analysis of these data provided a clear picture of the small scale of the storm vertical velocity structure associated with individual convective cells. The peak vertical velocities measured in the high-resolution analysis were also increased above low-resolution analysis values, in many areas by 50%–100%. This case exemplifies the need for high-resolution measurement and analysis of convective transport, even if the goal is to measure and parameterize the large-scale effects of storms. The paper concludes with a discussion of completion of the remaining ELDORA design goals and planned near-term upgrades to the system. These upgrades include an implementation of dual–pulse repetition frequency and development of real-time, in-flight dual-Doppler analysis capability.

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