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C. Smyth and Alex E. Hay

Abstract

Wave friction factors are estimated from vertical profiles of near-bed turbulence and horizontal velocity spanning the wave bottom boundary layer. Measured values are partitioned by bed state, which ranged from irregular ripples to flat bed, and are examined as a function of two traditionally selected parameters—physical bed roughness and outer flow Reynolds number. The measurements are from two field experiments in very different nearshore environments: a relatively protected unbarred pocket beach and a linear barred beach exposed to the open shelf (Duck). Measured wave friction factors are remarkably similar for the two beaches and are highest for low-energy rippled beds and lowest for the high-energy flat bed conditions. The reduction in the friction factor for high-energy conditions corresponds to a decrease in the physical roughness of the bed as wave energy increases. As a function of relative roughness, measured friction factors are generally consistent with previous laboratory results and theoretical results for the high-energy cases, but the predicted values for the low-energy rippled beds show some significant differences. A new expression is derived for the bed roughness and is found to have a stronger dependence on ripple steepness than previously suggested laboratory-based relationships. Estimated friction factors exhibit a power-law dependence on Reynolds number and occupy a narrow band within the rough turbulent and transition regions.

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C. L. Ting and D. R. Hay

Abstract

Measurements on wind and temperature fields near the ground as reported by Swinbank and Dyer are re-examined. Through the use of the free convection wind and temperature profiles, H and u * as derived by the present authors have accuracies that are comparable to or better than those obtained earlier through the use of the exponential wind profile and the integrated KEYPS profile.

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C. L. Ting and D. R. Hay

Abstract

No abstract available.

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Megan Jeramaz Lickley, Carling C. Hay, Mark E. Tamisiea, and Jerry X. Mitrovica

abstract

Estimates of regional and global average sea level change remain a focus of climate change research. One complication in obtaining coherent estimates is that geodetic datasets measure different aspects of the sea level field. Satellite altimetry constrains changes in the sea surface height (SSH; or absolute sea level), whereas tide gauge data provide a measure of changes in SSH relative to the crust (i.e., relative sea level). The latter is a direct measure of changes in ocean volume (and the combined impacts of ice sheet melt and steric effects), but the former is not since it does not account for crustal deformation. Nevertheless, the literature commonly conflates the two estimates by directly comparing them. We demonstrate that using satellite altimetry records to estimate global ocean volume changes can lead to biases that can exceed 15%. The level of bias will depend on the relative contributions to sea level changes from the Antarctic and Greenland Ice Sheets. The bias is also more sensitive to the detailed geometry of mass flux from the Antarctic Ice Sheet than the Greenland Ice Sheet due to rotational effects on sea level. Finally, in a regional sense, altimetry estimates should not be compared to relative sea level changes because radial crustal motions driven by polar ice mass flux are nonnegligible globally.

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Jerry X. Mitrovica, Carling C. Hay, Robert E. Kopp, Christopher Harig, and Konstantin Latychev

Abstract

It has been known for over a century that the melting of individual ice sheets and glaciers drives distinct geographic patterns, or fingerprints, of sea level change, and recent studies have highlighted the implications of this variability for hazard assessment and inferences of meltwater sources. These studies have computed fingerprints using simplified melt geometries; however, a more generalized treatment would be advantageous when assessing or projecting sea level hazards in the face of quickly evolving patterns of ice mass flux. In this paper the usual fingerprint approach is inverted to compute site-specific sensitivity kernels for a global database of coastal localities. These kernels provide a mapping between geographically variable mass flux across each ice sheet and glacier and the associated static sea level change at a given site. Kernels are highlighted for a subset of sites associated with melting from Greenland, Antarctica, and the Alaska–Yukon–British Columbia glacier system. The latter, for example, reveals an underappreciated sensitivity of ongoing and future sea level change along the U.S. West Coast to the geometry of ice mass flux in the region. Finally, the practical utility of these kernels is illustrated by computing sea level predictions at a suite of sites associated with annual variability in Greenland ice mass since 2003 constrained by satellite gravity measurements.

Open access
Carling C. Hay, Eric D. Morrow, Robert E. Kopp, and Jerry X. Mitrovica

Abstract

Global mean sea level (GMSL) over the twentieth century has been estimated using techniques that include regional averaging of sparse tide gauge observations, combining satellite altimetry observations with tide gauge records in empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analyses, and most recently the Bayesian approaches of Kalman smoothing (KS) and Gaussian process regression (GPR). Estimated trends in GMSL over 1901–90 obtained using the Bayesian techniques are 1.1–1.2 mm yr−1, approximately 20% lower than previous estimates. It has been suggested that the adoption of a less restrictive subset of records biased the Bayesian-derived estimates. In this study, different subsets of records are used to demonstrate that GMSL estimates based on the Bayesian methodologies are robust to tide gauge selection. A method for determining the resolvability of individual sea level components estimated in a Bayesian framework is also presented and applied. It is found that the incomplete tide gauge observations result in posterior correlations between individual sea level contributions, making robust separation of the individual components impossible. However, various weighted sums of these components, as well as the total sum (i.e., GMSL), are resolvable. Finally, the KS and GPR methodologies allow for the simultaneous estimation of sea level at sites with and without observations. The first KS and GPR global maps of sea level change over the twentieth century are presented. These maps provide new estimates of twentieth-century sea level in data-sparse regions.

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E. Powell, N. Gomez, C. Hay, K. Latychev, and J. X. Mitrovica

Abstract

The West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) overlies a thin, variable-thickness lithosphere and a shallow upper-mantle region of laterally varying and, in some regions, very low (~1018 Pa s) viscosity. We explore the extent to which viscous effects may affect predictions of present-day geoid and crustal deformation rates resulting from Antarctic ice mass flux over the last quarter century and project these calculations into the next half century, using viscoelastic Earth models of varying complexity. Peak deformation rates at the end of a 25-yr simulation predicted with an elastic model underestimate analogous predictions that are based on a 3D viscoelastic Earth model (with minimum viscosity below West Antarctica of 1018 Pa s) by ~15 and ~3 mm yr−1 in the vertical and horizontal directions, respectively, at sites overlying low-viscosity mantle and close to high rates of ice mass flux. The discrepancy in uplift rate can be reduced by adopting 1D Earth models tuned to the regional average viscosity profile beneath West Antarctica. In the case of horizontal crustal rates, adopting 1D regional viscosity models is no more accurate in recovering predictions that are based on 3D viscosity models than calculations that assume a purely elastic Earth. The magnitude and relative contribution of viscous relaxation to crustal deformation rates will likely increase significantly in the next several decades, and the adoption of 3D viscoelastic Earth models in analyses of geodetic datasets [e.g., Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS); Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE)] will be required to accurately estimate the magnitude of Antarctic modern ice mass flux in the progressively warming world.

Open access
Carling C. Hay, Harriet C. P. Lau, Natalya Gomez, Jacqueline Austermann, Evelyn Powell, Jerry X. Mitrovica, Konstantin Latychev, and Douglas A. Wiens

Abstract

Sea level fingerprints associated with rapid melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) have generally been computed under the assumption of a purely elastic response of the solid Earth. The authors investigate the impact of viscous effects on these fingerprints by computing gravitationally self-consistent sea level changes that adopt a 3D viscoelastic Earth model in the Antarctic region consistent with available geological and geophysical constraints. In West Antarctica, the model is characterized by a thin (~65 km) elastic lithosphere and sublithospheric viscosities that span three orders of magnitude, reaching values as low as approximately 4 × 1018 Pa s beneath WAIS. Calculations indicate that sea level predictions in the near field of WAIS will depart significantly from elastic fingerprints in as little as a few decades. For example, when viscous effects are included, the peak sea level fall predicted in the vicinity of WAIS during a melt event will increase by about 20% and about 50%, relative to the elastic case, for events of duration 25 and 100 yr, respectively. The results have implications for studies of sea level change due to both ongoing mass loss from WAIS over the next century and future, large-scale collapse of WAIS on centennial-to-millennial time scales.

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I. A. Renfrew, G. W. K. Moore, J. E. Kristjánsson, H. Ólafsson, S. L. Gray, G. N. Petersen, K. Bovis, P. R. A. Brown, I. Føre, T. Haine, C. Hay, E. A. Irvine, A Lawrence, T. Ohigashi, S. Outten, R. S. Pickart, M. Shapiro, D. Sproson, R. Swinbank, A. Woolley, and S. Zhang

Greenland has a major influence on the atmospheric circulation of the North Atlantic-western European region, dictating the location and strength of mesoscale weather systems around the coastal seas of Greenland and directly influencing synoptic-scale weather systems both locally and downstream over Europe. High winds associated with the local weather systems can induce large air-sea fluxes of heat, moisture, and momentum in a region that is critical to the overturning of the thermohaline circulation, and thus play a key role in controlling the coupled atmosphere-ocean climate system.

The Greenland Flow Distortion Experiment (GFDex) is investigating the role of Greenland in defining the structure and predictability of both local and downstream weather systems through a program of aircraft-based observation and numerical modeling. The GFDex observational program is centered upon an aircraft-based field campaign in February and March 2007, at the dawn of the International Polar Year. Twelve missions were flown with the Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurements' BAe-146, based out of the Keflavik, Iceland. These included the first aircraft-based observations of a reverse tip jet event, the first aircraft-based observations of barrier winds off of southeast Greenland, two polar mesoscale cyclones, a dramatic case of lee cyclogenesis, and several targeted observation missions into areas where additional observations were predicted to improve forecasts.

In this overview of GFDex the background, aims and objectives, and facilities and logistics are described. A summary of the campaign is provided, along with some of the highlights of the experiment.

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