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Andrey Y. Shcherbina
,
Miles A. Sundermeyer
,
Eric Kunze
,
Eric D’Asaro
,
Gualtiero Badin
,
Daniel Birch
,
Anne-Marie E. G. Brunner-Suzuki
,
Jörn Callies
,
Brandy T. Kuebel Cervantes
,
Mariona Claret
,
Brian Concannon
,
Jeffrey Early
,
Raffaele Ferrari
,
Louis Goodman
,
Ramsey R. Harcourt
,
Jody M. Klymak
,
Craig M. Lee
,
M.-Pascale Lelong
,
Murray D. Levine
,
Ren-Chieh Lien
,
Amala Mahadevan
,
James C. McWilliams
,
M. Jeroen Molemaker
,
Sonaljit Mukherjee
,
Jonathan D. Nash
,
Tamay Özgökmen
,
Stephen D. Pierce
,
Sanjiv Ramachandran
,
Roger M. Samelson
,
Thomas B. Sanford
,
R. Kipp Shearman
,
Eric D. Skyllingstad
,
K. Shafer Smith
,
Amit Tandon
,
John R. Taylor
,
Eugene A. Terray
,
Leif N. Thomas
, and
James R. Ledwell

Abstract

Lateral stirring is a basic oceanographic phenomenon affecting the distribution of physical, chemical, and biological fields. Eddy stirring at scales on the order of 100 km (the mesoscale) is fairly well understood and explicitly represented in modern eddy-resolving numerical models of global ocean circulation. The same cannot be said for smaller-scale stirring processes. Here, the authors describe a major oceanographic field experiment aimed at observing and understanding the processes responsible for stirring at scales of 0.1–10 km. Stirring processes of varying intensity were studied in the Sargasso Sea eddy field approximately 250 km southeast of Cape Hatteras. Lateral variability of water-mass properties, the distribution of microscale turbulence, and the evolution of several patches of inert dye were studied with an array of shipboard, autonomous, and airborne instruments. Observations were made at two sites, characterized by weak and moderate background mesoscale straining, to contrast different regimes of lateral stirring. Analyses to date suggest that, in both cases, the lateral dispersion of natural and deliberately released tracers was O(1) m2 s–1 as found elsewhere, which is faster than might be expected from traditional shear dispersion by persistent mesoscale flow and linear internal waves. These findings point to the possible importance of kilometer-scale stirring by submesoscale eddies and nonlinear internal-wave processes or the need to modify the traditional shear-dispersion paradigm to include higher-order effects. A unique aspect of the Scalable Lateral Mixing and Coherent Turbulence (LatMix) field experiment is the combination of direct measurements of dye dispersion with the concurrent multiscale hydrographic and turbulence observations, enabling evaluation of the underlying mechanisms responsible for the observed dispersion at a new level.

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Chelsea R. Thompson
,
Steven C. Wofsy
,
Michael J. Prather
,
Paul A. Newman
,
Thomas F. Hanisco
,
Thomas B. Ryerson
,
David W. Fahey
,
Eric C. Apel
,
Charles A. Brock
,
William H. Brune
,
Karl Froyd
,
Joseph M. Katich
,
Julie M. Nicely
,
Jeff Peischl
,
Eric Ray
,
Patrick R. Veres
,
Siyuan Wang
,
Hannah M. Allen
,
Elizabeth Asher
,
Huisheng Bian
,
Donald Blake
,
Ilann Bourgeois
,
John Budney
,
T. Paul Bui
,
Amy Butler
,
Pedro Campuzano-Jost
,
Cecilia Chang
,
Mian Chin
,
Róisín Commane
,
Gus Correa
,
John D. Crounse
,
Bruce Daube
,
Jack E. Dibb
,
Joshua P. DiGangi
,
Glenn S. Diskin
,
Maximilian Dollner
,
James W. Elkins
,
Arlene M. Fiore
,
Clare M. Flynn
,
Hao Guo
,
Samuel R. Hall
,
Reem A. Hannun
,
Alan Hills
,
Eric J. Hintsa
,
Alma Hodzic
,
Rebecca S. Hornbrook
,
L. Greg Huey
,
Jose L. Jimenez
,
Ralph F. Keeling
,
Michelle J. Kim
,
Agnieszka Kupc
,
Forrest Lacey
,
Leslie R. Lait
,
Jean-Francois Lamarque
,
Junhua Liu
,
Kathryn McKain
,
Simone Meinardi
,
David O. Miller
,
Stephen A. Montzka
,
Fred L. Moore
,
Eric J. Morgan
,
Daniel M. Murphy
,
Lee T. Murray
,
Benjamin A. Nault
,
J. Andrew Neuman
,
Louis Nguyen
,
Yenny Gonzalez
,
Andrew Rollins
,
Karen Rosenlof
,
Maryann Sargent
,
Gregory Schill
,
Joshua P. Schwarz
,
Jason M. St. Clair
,
Stephen D. Steenrod
,
Britton B. Stephens
,
Susan E. Strahan
,
Sarah A. Strode
,
Colm Sweeney
,
Alexander B. Thames
,
Kirk Ullmann
,
Nicholas Wagner
,
Rodney Weber
,
Bernadett Weinzierl
,
Paul O. Wennberg
,
Christina J. Williamson
,
Glenn M. Wolfe
, and
Linghan Zeng

Abstract

This article provides an overview of the NASA Atmospheric Tomography (ATom) mission and a summary of selected scientific findings to date. ATom was an airborne measurements and modeling campaign aimed at characterizing the composition and chemistry of the troposphere over the most remote regions of the Pacific, Southern, Atlantic, and Arctic Oceans, and examining the impact of anthropogenic and natural emissions on a global scale. These remote regions dominate global chemical reactivity and are exceptionally important for global air quality and climate. ATom data provide the in situ measurements needed to understand the range of chemical species and their reactions, and to test satellite remote sensing observations and global models over large regions of the remote atmosphere. Lack of data in these regions, particularly over the oceans, has limited our understanding of how atmospheric composition is changing in response to shifting anthropogenic emissions and physical climate change. ATom was designed as a global-scale tomographic sampling mission with extensive geographic and seasonal coverage, tropospheric vertical profiling, and detailed speciation of reactive compounds and pollution tracers. ATom flew the NASA DC-8 research aircraft over four seasons to collect a comprehensive suite of measurements of gases, aerosols, and radical species from the remote troposphere and lower stratosphere on four global circuits from 2016 to 2018. Flights maintained near-continuous vertical profiling of 0.15–13-km altitudes on long meridional transects of the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean basins. Analysis and modeling of ATom data have led to the significant early findings highlighted here.

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