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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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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.

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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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Leah Johnson, Craig M. Lee, Eric A. D’Asaro, Jacob O. Wenegrat, and Leif N. Thomas

Abstract

A coordinated multiplatform campaign collected detailed measurements of a restratifying surface intensified upwelling front within the California Current System. A companion paper outlined the evolution of the front, revealing the importance of lateral advection at tilting isopycnals and increasing stratification in the surface boundary layer with a buoyancy flux equivalent to 2000 W m−2. Here, observations were compared with idealized models to explore the dynamics contributing to the stratification. A 2D model combined with a reduced form of the horizontal momentum equations highlight the importance of transient Ekman dynamics, turbulence, and thermal wind imbalance at modulating shear in the boundary layer. Specifically, unsteady frictional adjustment to the rapid decrease in wind stress created vertically sheared currents that advected horizontal gradients to increase vertical stratification on superinertial time scales. The magnitude of stratification depended on the strength of the horizontal buoyancy gradient. This enhanced stratification due to horizontal advection inhibited nighttime mixing that would have otherwise eroded stratification from the diurnal warm layer. This underscores the importance of near-surface lateral restratification for the upper ocean buoyancy budget on diel time scales.

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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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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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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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NPOESS

Next-Generation Operational Global Earth Observations

Thomas F. Lee, Craig S. Nelson, Patrick Dills, Lars Peter Riishojgaard, Andy Jones, Li Li, Steven Miller, Lawrence E. Flynn, Gary Jedlovec, William McCarty, Carl Hoffman, and Gary McWilliams

The United States is merging its two polar-orbiting operational environmental satellite programs operated by the Department of Commerce and the Department of Defense into a single system, which is called the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS). During the next decade, NPOESS will provide global operational data to meet many of the needs of weather forecasters, climate researchers, and global decision makers for remotely sensed Earth science data and global environmental monitoring. The NPOESS Preparatory Project (NPP) will be launched in 2011 as a precursor to NPOESS to reduce final development risks for NPOESS and to provide continuity of global imaging and atmospheric sounding data from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Earth Observing System (EOS) missions. Beginning in 2014, NPOESS spacecraft will be launched into an afternoon orbit and in 2016 into an early-morning orbit to provide significantly improved operational capabilities and benefits to satisfy critical civil and national security requirements for space-based, remotely sensed environmental data. The European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) Meteorological Operation (MetOp) spacecraft will complement NPOESS in a midmorning orbit. The joint constellation will provide global coverage with a data refresh rate of approximately four hours. NPOESS will observe more phenomena simultaneously from space and deliver a data volume significantly greater than its operational predecessors with substantially improved data delivery to users. Higher-resolution (spatial and spectral) and more accurate imaging and atmospheric sounding data will enable improvements in short- to medium-range weather forecasts. Multispectral and hyperspectral instruments on NPOESS will provide global imagery and sounding products useful to the forecaster that are complementary to those available from geostationary satellites. NPOESS will support the operational needs of meteorological, oceanographic, environmental, climatic, and space environmental remote sensing programs and provide continuity of data for climate researchers. This article that describes NPOESS was completed and accepted for publication prior to the White House decision in February 2010 ordering a major restructuring of the NPOESS program. The Department of Commerce will now assume primary responsibility for the afternoon polar-orbiting operational environmental satellite orbit and the Department of Defense will take primary responsibility for the early morning orbit. However, NPP, as described in this article, is still scheduled to be launched in 2011. Several of the instruments and program elements described in this article are also likely to be carried forward into future U.S. polar-orbiting operational environmental satellite missions.

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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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