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Sean Haney, Baylor Fox-Kemper, Keith Julien, and Adrean Webb


Here, the effects of surface waves on submesoscale instabilities are studied through analytical and linear analyses as well as nonlinear large-eddy simulations of the wave-averaged Boussinesq equations. The wave averaging yields a surface-intensified current (Stokes drift) that advects momentum, adds to the total Coriolis force, and induces a Stokes shear force. The Stokes–Coriolis force alters the geostrophically balanced flow by reducing the burden on the Eulerian–Coriolis force to prop up the front, thereby potentially inciting an anti-Stokes Eulerian shear, while maintaining the Lagrangian (Eulerian plus Stokes) shear. Since the Lagrangian shear is maintained, the Charney–Stern–Pedlosky criteria for quasigeostrophic (QG) baroclinic instability are unchanged with the appropriate Lagrangian interpretation of the shear and QG potential vorticity. While the Stokes drift does not directly affect vorticity, the anti-Stokes Eulerian shear contributes to the Ertel potential vorticity (PV). When the Stokes shear and geostrophic shear are aligned (antialigned), the PV is more (less) cyclonic. If the Stokes-modified PV is anticyclonic, the flow is unstable to symmetric instabilities (SI). Stokes drift also weakly impacts SI through the Stokes shear force. When the Stokes and Eulerian shears are the same (opposite) sign, the Stokes shear force does positive (negative) work on the flow associated with SI. Stokes drift also allows SI to extract more potential energy from the front, providing an indirect mechanism for Stokes-induced restratification.

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Peter E. Hamlington, Luke P. Van Roekel, Baylor Fox-Kemper, Keith Julien, and Gregory P. Chini


The interactions between boundary layer turbulence, including Langmuir turbulence, and submesoscale processes in the oceanic mixed layer are described using large-eddy simulations of the spindown of a temperature front in the presence of submesoscale eddies, winds, and waves. The simulations solve the surface-wave-averaged Boussinesq equations with Stokes drift wave forcing at a resolution that is sufficiently fine to capture small-scale Langmuir turbulence. A simulation without Stokes drift forcing is also performed for comparison. Spatial and spectral properties of temperature, velocity, and vorticity fields are described, and these fields are scale decomposed in order to examine multiscale fluxes of momentum and buoyancy. Buoyancy flux results indicate that Langmuir turbulence counters the restratifying effects of submesoscale eddies, leading to small-scale vertical transport and mixing that is 4 times greater than in the simulations without Stokes drift forcing. The observed fluxes are also shown to be in good agreement with results from an asymptotic analysis of the surface-wave-averaged, or Craik–Leibovich, equations. Regions of potential instability in the flow are identified using Richardson and Rossby numbers, and it is found that mixed gravitational/symmetric instabilities are nearly twice as prevalent when Langmuir turbulence is present, in contrast to simulations without Stokes drift forcing, which are dominated by symmetric instabilities. Mixed layer depth calculations based on potential vorticity and temperature show that the mixed layer is up to 2 times deeper in the presence of Langmuir turbulence. Differences between measures of the mixed layer depth based on potential vorticity and temperature are smaller in the simulations with Stokes drift forcing, indicating a reduced incidence of symmetric instabilities in the presence of Langmuir turbulence.

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Dan Lubin, Damao Zhang, Israel Silber, Ryan C. Scott, Petros Kalogeras, Alessandro Battaglia, David H. Bromwich, Maria Cadeddu, Edwin Eloranta, Ann Fridlind, Amanda Frossard, Keith M. Hines, Stefan Kneifel, W. Richard Leaitch, Wuyin Lin, Julien Nicolas, Heath Powers, Patricia K. Quinn, Penny Rowe, Lynn M. Russell, Sangeeta Sharma, Johannes Verlinde, and Andrew M. Vogelmann


The U.S. Department of Energy Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) West Antarctic Radiation Experiment (AWARE) performed comprehensive meteorological and aerosol measurements and ground-based atmospheric remote sensing at two Antarctic stations using the most advanced instrumentation available. A suite of cloud research radars, lidars, spectral and broadband radiometers, aerosol chemical and microphysical sampling equipment, and meteorological instrumentation was deployed at McMurdo Station on Ross Island from December 2015 through December 2016. A smaller suite of radiometers and meteorological equipment, including radiosondes optimized for surface energy budget measurement, was deployed on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet between 4 December 2015 and 17 January 2016. AWARE provided Antarctic atmospheric data comparable to several well-instrumented high Arctic sites that have operated for many years and that reveal numerous contrasts with the Arctic in aerosol and cloud microphysical properties. These include persistent differences in liquid cloud occurrence, cloud height, and cloud thickness. Antarctic aerosol properties are also quite different from the Arctic in both seasonal cycle and composition, due to the continent’s isolation from lower latitudes by Southern Ocean storm tracks. Antarctic aerosol number and mass concentrations are not only non-negligible but perhaps play a more important role than previously recognized because of the higher sensitivities of clouds at the very low concentrations caused by the large-scale dynamical isolation. Antarctic aerosol chemical composition, particularly organic components, has implications for local cloud microphysics. The AWARE dataset, fully available online in the ARM Program data archive, offers numerous case studies for unique and rigorous evaluation of mixed-phase cloud parameterization in climate models.

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