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Waterhouse, AF, MacKinnon JA, Nash JD, Alford MH, Kunze E, Simmons HL, Polzin KL, St Laurent LC, Sun OM, Pinkel R, Talley LD, Whalen CB, Huussen TN, Carter GS, Fer I, Waterman S, Garabato ACN, Sanford TB, Lee CM.  2014.  Global patterns of diapycnal mixing from measurements of the turbulent dissipation rate. Journal of Physical Oceanography. 44:1854-1872.   10.1175/jpo-d-13-0104.1   AbstractWebsite

The authors present inferences of diapycnal diffusivity from a compilation of over 5200 microstructure profiles. As microstructure observations are sparse, these are supplemented with indirect measurements of mixing obtained from(i) Thorpe-scale overturns from moored profilers, a finescale parameterization applied to (ii) shipboard observations of upper-ocean shear, (iii) strain as measured by profiling floats, and (iv) shear and strain from full-depth lowered acoustic Doppler current profilers (LADCP) and CTD profiles. Vertical profiles of the turbulent dissipation rate are bottom enhanced over rough topography and abrupt, isolated ridges. The geography of depth-integrated dissipation rate shows spatial variability related to internal wave generation, suggesting one direct energy pathway to turbulence. The global-averaged diapycnal diffusivity below 1000-m depth is O(10(-4))m(2) s(-1) and above 1000-m depth is O(10(-5))m(2) s(-1). The compiled microstructure observations sample a wide range of internal wave power inputs and topographic roughness, providing a dataset with which to estimate a representative global-averaged dissipation rate and diffusivity. However, there is strong regional variability in the ratio between local internal wave generation and local dissipation. In some regions, the depth-integrated dissipation rate is comparable to the estimated power input into the local internal wave field. In a few cases, more internal wave power is dissipated than locally generated, suggesting remote internal wave sources. However, at most locations the total power lost through turbulent dissipation is less than the input into the local internal wave field. This suggests dissipation elsewhere, such as continental margins.

Whalen, CB, Talley LD, MacKinnon JA.  2012.  Spatial and temporal variability of global ocean mixing inferred from Argo profiles. Geophysical Research Letters. 39:n/a-n/a.   10.1029/2012GL053196   AbstractWebsite

The influence of turbulent ocean mixing transcends its inherently small scales to affect large scale ocean processes including water-mass transformation, stratification maintenance, and the overturning circulation. However, the distribution of ocean mixing is not well described by sparse ship-based observations since this mixing is both spatially patchy and temporally intermittent. We use strain information from Argo float profiles in the upper 2,000 m of the ocean to generate over 400,000 estimates of the energy dissipation rate, indicative of ocean mixing. These estimates rely on numerous assumptions, and do not take the place of direct measurement methods. Temporally averaged estimates reveal clear spatial patterns in the parameterized dissipation rate and diffusivity distribution across all the oceans. They corroborate previous observations linking elevated dissipation rates to regions of rough topography. We also observe heightened estimated dissipation rates in areas of high eddy kinetic energy, as well as heightened diffusivity in high latitudes where stratification is weak. The seasonal dependence of mixing is observed in the Northwest Pacific, suggesting a wind-forced response in the upper ocean.

Whalen, CB, MacKinnon JA, Talley LD, Waterhouse AF.  2015.  Estimating the mean diapycnal mixing using a finescale strain parameterization. Journal of Physical Oceanography. 45:1174-1188.   10.1175/jpo-d-14-0167.1   AbstractWebsite

Finescale methods are currently being applied to estimate the mean turbulent dissipation rate and diffusivity on regional and global scales. This study evaluates finescale estimates derived from isopycnal strain by comparing them with average microstructure profiles from six diverse environments including the equator, above ridges, near seamounts, and in strong currents. The finescale strain estimates are derived from at least 10 nearby Argo profiles (generally <60 km distant) with no temporal restrictions, including measurements separated by seasons or decades. The absence of temporal limits is reasonable in these cases, since the authors find the dissipation rate is steady over seasonal time scales at the latitudes being considered (0 degrees-30 degrees and 40 degrees-50 degrees). In contrast, a seasonal cycle of a factor of 2-5 in the upper 1000m is found under storm tracks (30 degrees-40 degrees) in both hemispheres. Agreement between the mean dissipation rate calculated using Argo profiles and mean from microstructure profiles is within a factor of 2-3 for 96% of the comparisons. This is both congruous with the physical scaling underlying the finescale parameterization and indicates that the method is effective for estimating the regional mean dissipation rates in the open ocean.

Whalen, CB, MacKinnon JA, Talley LD.  2018.  Large-scale impacts of the mesoscale environment on mixing from wind-driven internal waves. Nature Geoscience. 11:842-+.   10.1038/s41561-018-0213-6   AbstractWebsite

Oceanic mesoscale structures such as eddies and fronts can alter the propagation, breaking and subsequent turbulent mixing of wind-generated internal waves. However, it has been difficult to ascertain whether these processes affect the global-scale patterns, timing and magnitude of turbulent mixing, thereby powering the global oceanic overturning circulation and driving the transport of heat and dissolved gases. Here we present global evidence demonstrating that mesoscale features can significantly enhance turbulent mixing due to wind-generated internal waves. Using internal wave-driven mixing estimates calculated from Argo profiling floats between 30 degrees and 45 degrees N, we find that both the amplitude of the seasonal cycle of turbulent mixing and the response to increases in the wind energy flux are larger to a depth of at least 2,000 m in the presence of a strong and temporally uniform field of mesoscale eddy kinetic energy. Mixing is especially strong within energetic anticyclonic mesoscale features compared to cyclonic features, indicating that local modification of wind-driven internal waves is probably one mechanism contributing to the elevated mixing observed in energetic mesoscale environments.

Williams, NL, Juranek LW, Johnson KS, Feely RA, Riser SC, Talley LD, Russell JL, Sarmiento JL, Wanninkhof R.  2016.  Empirical algorithms to estimate water column pH in the Southern Ocean. Geophysical Research Letters. 43:3415-3422.   10.1002/2016gl068539   AbstractWebsite

Empirical algorithms are developed using high-quality GO-SHIP hydrographic measurements of commonly measured parameters (temperature, salinity, pressure, nitrate, and oxygen) that estimate pH in the Pacific sector of the Southern Ocean. The coefficients of determination, R-2, are 0.98 for pH from nitrate (pH(N)) and 0.97 for pH from oxygen (pH(Ox)) with RMS errors of 0.010 and 0.008, respectively. These algorithms are applied to Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modeling (SOCCOM) biogeochemical profiling floats, which include novel sensors (pH, nitrate, oxygen, fluorescence, and backscatter). These algorithms are used to estimate pH on floats with no pH sensors and to validate and adjust pH sensor data from floats with pH sensors. The adjusted float data provide, for the first time, seasonal cycles in surface pH on weekly resolution that range from 0.05 to 0.08 on weekly resolution for the Pacific sector of the Southern Ocean.

Williams, NL, Juranek LW, Feely RA, Johnson KS, Sarmiento JL, Talley LD, Dickson AG, Gray AR, Wanninkhof R, Russell JL, Riser SC, Takeshita Y.  2017.  Calculating surface ocean pCO(2) from biogeochemical Argo floats equipped with pH: An uncertainty analysis. Global Biogeochemical Cycles. 31:591-604.   10.1002/2016gb005541   AbstractWebsite

More than 74 biogeochemical profiling floats that measure water column pH, oxygen, nitrate, fluorescence, and backscattering at 10 day intervals have been deployed throughout the Southern Ocean. Calculating the surface ocean partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO(2sw)) from float pH has uncertainty contributions from the pH sensor, the alkalinity estimate, and carbonate system equilibrium constants, resulting in a relative standard uncertainty in pCO(2sw) of 2.7% (or 11 mu atm at pCO(2sw) of 400 mu atm). The calculated pCO(2sw) from several floats spanning a range of oceanographic regimes are compared to existing climatologies. In some locations, such as the subantarctic zone, the float data closely match the climatologies, but in the polar Antarctic zone significantly higher pCO(2sw) are calculated in the wintertime implying a greater air-sea CO2 efflux estimate. Our results based on four representative floats suggest that despite their uncertainty relative to direct measurements, the float data can be used to improve estimates for air-sea carbon flux, as well as to increase knowledge of spatial, seasonal, and interannual variability in this flux. Plain Language Summary The Southern Ocean is a key player in the global flow of carbon, yet it is hard to reach, and there are relatively few measurements there, especially in winter. Measuring the amount of carbon dioxide gas in seawater is key to advancing our understanding of the Southern Ocean. More than 74 robotic floats that use sensors to measure seawater properties have been deployed throughout the Southern Ocean, and each has a lifetime of around 5 years. It is currently not possible to directly measure carbon dioxide gas from these floats; however, it is possible to estimate carbon dioxide from things that the float can measure, like pH, a measure of ocean acidity. Here surface ocean carbon dioxide is estimated from several floats and compared to two ship-based estimates. In some locations, the floats closely match the existing estimates, but in other locations the floats see significantly higher surface ocean carbon dioxide in the wintertime, reinforcing the idea that the Southern Ocean's role in the global carbon cycle needs a closer look. Our results show that despite not measuring carbon dioxide directly, these floats will help scientists learn a lot about the Southern Ocean's part in the global flow of carbon.

Williams, NL, Feely RA, Sabine CL, Dickson AG, Swift JH, Talley LD, Russell JL.  2015.  Quantifying anthropogenic carbon inventory changes in the Pacific sector of the Southern Ocean. Marine Chemistry. 174:147-160.   10.1016/j.marchem.2015.06.015   AbstractWebsite

The Southern Ocean plays a major role in mediating the uptake, transport, and long-term storage of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) into the deep ocean. Examining the magnitude and spatial distribution of this oceanic carbon uptake is critical to understanding how the earth's carbon system will react to continued increases in this greenhouse gas. Here, we use the extended multiple linear regression technique to quantify the total and anthropogenic change in dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) along the S04P and P16S CLIVAR/U.S. Global Ocean Carbon and Repeat Hydrography Program lines south of 67 degrees S in the Pacific sector of the Southern Ocean between 1992 and 2011 using discrete bottle measurements from repeat occupations. Along the S04P section, which is located in the seasonal sea ice zone south of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current in the Pacific, the anthropogenic component of the DIC increase from 1992 to 2011 is mostly found in the Antarctic Surface Water (AASW, upper 100 m), while the increase in DIC below the mixed layer in the Circumpolar Deep Water can be primarily attributed to either a slowdown in circulation or decreased ventilation of deeper, high CO2 waters. In the AASW we calculate an anthropogenic increase in DIC of 12-18 mu mol kg(-1) and an average storage rate of anthropogenic CO2 of 0.10 +/- 0.02 mol m(-2) yr(-1) for this region compared to a global average of 0.5 +/- 0.2 mol m(-2) yr(-1). In surface waters this anthropogenic CO2 uptake results in an average pH decrease of 0.0022 +/- 0.0004 pH units yr(-1), a 0.47 +/- 0.10% yr(-1) decrease in the saturation state of aragonite (Omega(Aragonite)) and a 2.0 +/- 0.7 m yr(-1) shoaling of the aragonite saturation horizons (calculated for the Omega(Aragonite) = 1.3 contour). (C) 2015 Published by Elsevier B.V.