Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 12 items for

  • Author or Editor: Emily Shroyer x
  • Refine by Access: All Content x
Clear All Modify Search
Kerstin Cullen
,
Emily Shroyer
, and
Larry O’Neill

Abstract

The Sri Lanka Dome is a cyclonic recirculation feature in the Southwest Monsoon Current system in the southern Bay of Bengal. Cooler sea surface temperature (SST) in the vicinity of this system is often denoted as the Bay of Bengal “Cold Pool.” Although the wind shadow of Sri Lanka creates a region of strong positive wind stress curl, both sea level height dynamics and the distribution of cool SST cannot be explained by wind stress curl alone via traditional Ekman pumping. Moreover, the Cold Pool region is often aligned with the eastern portion of the Sri Lanka Dome, as defined by sea surface height. Previous work has attributed the spatial SST pattern to lateral advection. In this analysis, we explore whether low-latitude weakly nonlinear “vorticity” Ekman pumping could be an explanation for both cooling and observed changes in sea level height in the southwest Bay of Bengal. We show that weakly nonlinear upwelling, calculated from ERA5 and AVISO geostrophic currents, collocates with changes in sea level height (and presumably isopycnals). While the SST signal is sensitive to several factors including the net surface flux, regional upwelling explains changes in AVISO sea level height if the nonlinear terms are included, in both the Sri Lanka Dome and the region of the Southwest Monsoon Current.

Restricted access
Kenneth G. Hughes
,
James N. Moum
, and
Emily L. Shroyer

Abstract

The daily formation of near-surface ocean stratification caused by penetrating solar radiation modifies heat fluxes through the air–sea interface, turbulence dissipation in the mixed layer, and the vertical profile of lateral transport. The transport is altered because momentum from wind is trapped in a thin near-surface layer, the diurnal warm layer. We investigate the dynamics of this layer, with particular attention to the vertical shear of horizontal velocity. We first develop a quantitative link between the near-surface shear components that relates the crosswind component to the inertial turning of the along-wind component. Three days of high-resolution velocity observations confirm this relation. Clear colocation of shear and stratification with Richardson numbers near 0.25 indicate marginal instability. Idealized numerical modeling is then invoked to extrapolate below the observed wind speeds. This modeling, together with a simple energetic scaling analysis, provides a rule of thumb that the diurnal shear evolves differently above and below a 2 m s−1 wind speed, with limited sensitivity of this threshold to latitude and mean net surface heat flux. Only above this wind speed is the energy input sufficient to overcome the stabilizing buoyancy flux and thereby induce marginal instability. The differing shear regimes explain differences in the timing and magnitude of diurnal sea surface temperature anomalies.

Free access
Aurélie J. Moulin
,
James N. Moum
, and
Emily L. Shroyer

Abstract

The daily evolution of temperature, stratification, and turbulence in the diurnal warm layer is described from time series measurements at low to moderate winds and strong insolation in the equatorial Indian Ocean. At 2.0-m depth, turbulence dissipation rates (ε) decreased by two orders of magnitude over 1–2 h immediately after sunrise, initiated by stratification caused by penetrating solar radiation prior to the change in sign of net surface heat flux from cooling to warming. Decaying turbulence preceded a period of rapid growth, in which ε increased by two orders of magnitude over a few hours, and following which ε approached a daytime period of near-steady state. Decay and growth rates predicted by a simplified turbulence model are consistent with those observed. During the daytime period of near-steady state, asymmetric temperature ramps were associated with enhanced ε, supporting the interpretation that this period represents a balance between buoyancy and shear production associated with a shear-driven response to trapping of momentum within the diurnal warm layer.

Full access
Kenneth G. Hughes
,
James N. Moum
, and
Emily L. Shroyer

Abstract

Penetration of solar radiation in the upper few meters of the ocean creates a near-surface, stratified diurnal warm layer. Wind stress accelerates a diurnal jet in this layer. Turbulence generated at the diurnal thermocline, where the shear of the diurnal jet is concentrated, redistributes heat downward via mixing. New measurements of temperature and turbulence from fast thermistors on a surface-following platform depict the details of this sequence in both time and depth. Temporally, the sequence at a fixed depth follows a counterclockwise path in logϵ–logN parameter space. This path also captures the evolution of buoyancy Reynolds number (a proxy for the anisotropy of the turbulence) and Ozmidov scale (a proxy for the outer vertical length scale of turbulence in the absence of the free surface). Vertically, the solar heat flux always leads to heating of fluid parcels in the upper few meters, whereas the turbulent heat flux divergence changes sign across the depth of maximum vertical temperature gradient, cooling fluid parcels above and heating fluid parcels below. In general, our measurements of fluid parcel heating or cooling rates of order 0.1°C h−1 are consistent with our estimates of heat flux divergence. In weak winds (<2 m s−1), sea surface temperature (SST) is controlled by the depth-dependent absorption of solar radiation. In stronger winds, turbulent mixing controls SST.

Free access
Jonathan D. Nash
,
Samuel M. Kelly
,
Emily L. Shroyer
,
James N. Moum
, and
Timothy F. Duda

Abstract

Packets of nonlinear internal waves (NLIWs) in a small area of the Mid-Atlantic Bight were 10 times more energetic during a local neap tide than during the preceding spring tide. This counterintuitive result cannot be explained if the waves are generated near the shelf break by the local barotropic tide since changes in shelfbreak stratification explain only a small fraction of the variability in barotropic to baroclinic conversion. Instead, this study suggests that the occurrence of strong NLIWs was caused by the shoaling of distantly generated internal tides with amplitudes that are uncorrelated with the local spring-neap cycle. An extensive set of moored observations show that NLIWs are correlated with the internal tide but uncorrelated with barotropic tide. Using harmonic analysis of a 40-day record, this study associates steady-phase motions at the shelf break with waves generated by the local barotropic tide and variable-phase motions with the shoaling of distantly generated internal tides. The dual sources of internal tide energy (local or remote) mean that shelf internal tides and NLIWs will be predictable with a local model only if the locally generated internal tides are significantly stronger than shoaling internal tides. Since the depth-integrated internal tide energy in the open ocean can greatly exceed that on the shelf, it is likely that shoaling internal tides control the energetics on shelves that are directly exposed to the open ocean.

Full access
Kenneth G. Hughes
,
James N. Moum
,
Emily L. Shroyer
, and
William D. Smyth

Abstract

In low winds ( 2 m s−1), diurnal warm layers form, but shear in the near-surface jet is too weak to generate shear instability and mixing. In high winds ( 8 m s−1), surface heat is rapidly mixed downward and diurnal warm layers do not form. Under moderate winds of 3–5 m s−1, the jet persists for several hours in a state that is susceptible to shear instability. We observe low Richardson numbers of Ri ≈ 0.1 in the top 2 m between 1000 and 1600 local time (LT) (from 4 h after sunrise to 2 h before sunset). Despite Ri being well below the Ri = ¼ threshold, instabilities do not grow quickly, nor do they overturn. The stabilizing influence of the sea surface limits growth, a result demonstrated by both linear stability analysis and two-dimensional simulations initialized from observed profiles. In some cases, growth rates are sufficiently small (≪1 h−1) that mixing is not expected even though Ri < ¼. This changes around 1600–1700 LT. Thereafter, convective cooling causes the region of unstable flow to move downward, away from the surface. This allows shear instabilities to grow an order-of-magnitude faster and mix effectively. We corroborate the overall observed diurnal cycle of instability with a freely evolving, two-dimensional simulation that is initialized from rest before sunrise.

Full access
Dustin Carroll
,
David A. Sutherland
,
Emily L. Shroyer
,
Jonathan D. Nash
,
Ginny A. Catania
, and
Leigh A. Stearns

Abstract

Fjord-scale circulation forced by rising turbulent plumes of subglacial meltwater has been identified as one possible mechanism of oceanic heat transfer to marine-terminating outlet glaciers. This study uses buoyant plume theory and a nonhydrostatic, three-dimensional ocean–ice model of a typical outlet glacier fjord in west Greenland to investigate the sensitivity of meltwater plume dynamics and fjord-scale circulation to subglacial discharge rates, ambient stratification, turbulent diffusivity, and subglacial conduit geometry. The terminal level of a rising plume depends on the cumulative turbulent entrainment and ambient stratification. Plumes with large vertical velocities penetrate to the free surface near the ice face; however, midcolumn stratification maxima create a barrier that can trap plumes at depth as they flow downstream. Subglacial discharge is varied from 1–750 m3 s−1; large discharges result in plumes with positive temperature and salinity anomalies in the upper water column. For these flows, turbulent entrainment along the ice face acts as a mechanism to vertically transport heat and salt. These results suggest that plumes intruding into stratified outlet glacier fjords do not always retain the cold, fresh signature of meltwater but may appear as warm, salty anomalies. Fjord-scale circulation is sensitive to subglacial conduit geometry; multiple point source and line plumes result in stronger return flows of warm water toward the glacier. Classic plume theory provides a useful estimate of the plume’s outflow depth; however, more complex models are needed to resolve the fjord-scale circulation and melt rates at the ice face.

Full access
Laur Ferris
,
Donglai Gong
,
Carol Anne Clayson
,
Sophia Merrifield
,
Emily L. Shroyer
,
Madison Smith
, and
Louis St. Laurent

Abstract

The ocean surface boundary layer is a gateway of energy transfer into the ocean. Wind-driven shear and meteorologically forced convection inject turbulent kinetic energy into the surface boundary layer, mixing the upper ocean and transforming its density structure. In the absence of direct observations or the capability to resolve subgrid-scale 3D turbulence in operational ocean models, the oceanography community relies on surface boundary layer similarity scalings (BLS) of shear and convective turbulence to represent this mixing. Despite their importance, near-surface mixing processes (and ubiquitous BLS representations of these processes) have been undersampled in high-energy forcing regimes such as the Southern Ocean. With the maturing of autonomous sampling platforms, there is now an opportunity to collect high-resolution spatial and temporal measurements in the full range of forcing conditions. Here, we characterize near-surface turbulence under strong wind forcing using the first long-duration glider microstructure survey of the Southern Ocean. We leverage these data to show that the measured turbulence is significantly higher than standard shear-convective BLS in the shallower parts of the surface boundary layer and lower than standard shear-convective BLS in the deeper parts of the surface boundary layer; the latter of which is not easily explained by present wave-effect literature. Consistent with the CBLAST (Coupled Boundary Layers and Air Sea Transfer) low winds experiment, this bias has the largest magnitude and spread in the shallowest 10% of the actively mixing layer under low-wind and breaking wave conditions, when relatively low levels of turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) in surface regime are easily biased by wave events.

Significance Statement

Wind blows across the ocean, turbulently mixing the water close to the surface and altering its properties. Without the ability to measure turbulence in remote locations, oceanographers use approximations called boundary layer scalings (BLS) to estimate the amount of turbulence caused by the wind. We compared turbulence measured by an underwater robot to turbulence estimated from wind speed to determine how well BLS performs in stormy places. We found that in both calm and stormy conditions, estimates are 10 times too small closest to the surface and 10 times too large deeper within the turbulently mixed surface ocean.

Open access
Iury T. Simoes-Sousa
,
Amit Tandon
,
Jared Buckley
,
Debasis Sengupta
,
Sree Lekha J
,
Emily Shroyer
, and
Simon P. de Szoeke

Abstract

Atmospheric cold pools, generated by evaporative downdrafts from precipitating clouds, are ubiquitous in the Bay of Bengal. We use data from three moorings near 18°N to characterize a total of 465 cold pools. The cold pools are all dry, with a typical temperature drop of 2°C (max. 5°C) and specific humidity drop of 1 g/kg (max. 6 g/kg). Most cold pools last 1.5-3.5 hours (max. 14 hours). Cold pools occur almost every day in the North Bay from April to November, principally in the late morning, associated with intense precipitation that accounts for 80% of total rain. They increase the latent heat flux to the atmosphere by about 32 W/m2(median), although the instantaneous enhancement of latent heat flux for individual cold pools reaches 150 W/m2 . During the rainiest month (July), the cold pools occur 21% of the time and contribute nearly 14% to the mean evaporation. A composite analysis of all cold pools shows that the temperature and specific humidity anomalies are responsible for ~90% of the enhancement of sensible and latent heat flux, while variations in wind speed are responsible for the remainder. Depending on their gust front speed, the estimated height of the cold pools primarily ranges from 850 to 3200 m, with taller fronts more likely to occur during the summer monsoon season (Jun-Sep). Our results indicate that the realistic representation of cold pools in climate models is likely to be important for improved simulation of air-sea fluxes and monsoon rainfall.

Restricted access
Sanjiv Ramachandran
,
Amit Tandon
,
Jennifer Mackinnon
,
Andrew J. Lucas
,
Robert Pinkel
,
Amy F. Waterhouse
,
Jonathan Nash
,
Emily Shroyer
,
Amala Mahadevan
,
Robert A. Weller
, and
J. Thomas Farrar

Abstract

Lateral submesoscale processes and their influence on vertical stratification at shallow salinity fronts in the central Bay of Bengal during the winter monsoon are explored using high-resolution data from a cruise in November 2013. The observations are from a radiator survey centered at a salinity-controlled density front, embedded in a zone of moderate mesoscale strain (0.15 times the Coriolis parameter) and forced by winds with a downfront orientation. Below a thin mixed layer, often ≤10 m, the analysis shows several dynamical signatures indicative of submesoscale processes: (i) negative Ertel potential vorticity (PV); (ii) low-PV anomalies with O(1–10) km lateral extent, where the vorticity estimated on isopycnals and the isopycnal thickness are tightly coupled, varying in lockstep to yield low PV; (iii) flow conditions susceptible to forced symmetric instability (FSI) or bearing the imprint of earlier FSI events; (iv) negative lateral gradients in the absolute momentum field (inertial instability); and (v) strong contribution from differential sheared advection at O(1) km scales to the growth rate of the depth-averaged stratification. The findings here show one-dimensional vertical processes alone cannot explain the vertical stratification and its lateral variability over O(1–10) km scales at the radiator survey.

Full access