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Chaput, J, Aster RC, McGrath D, Baker M, Anthony RE, Gerstoft P, Bromirski P, Nyblade A, Stephen RA, Wiens DA, Das SB, Stevens LA.  2018.  Near-surface environmentally forced changes in the Ross Ice Shelf observed with ambient seismic noise. Geophysical Research Letters. 45:11187-11196.   10.1029/2018gl079665   AbstractWebsite

Continuous seismic observations across the Ross Ice Shelf reveal ubiquitous ambient resonances at frequencies >5 Hz. These firn-trapped surface wave signals arise through wind and snow bedform interactions coupled with very low velocity structures. Progressive and long-term spectral changes are associated with surface snow redistribution by wind and with a January 2016 regional melt event. Modeling demonstrates high spectral sensitivity to near-surface (top several meters) elastic parameters. We propose that spectral peak changes arise from surface snow redistribution in wind events and to velocity drops reflecting snow lattice weakening near 0 degrees C for the melt event. Percolation-related refrozen layers and layer thinning may also contribute to long-term spectral changes after the melt event. Single-station observations are inverted for elastic structure for multiple stations across the ice shelf. High-frequency ambient noise seismology presents opportunities for continuous assessment of near-surface ice shelf or other firn environments. Plain Language Summary Ice shelves are the floating buttresses of large glaciers that extend over the oceans and play a key role in restraining inland glaciers as they flow to the sea. Deploying sensitive seismographs across Earth's largest ice shelf (the Ross Ice Shelf) for 2 years, we discovered that the shelf nearly continuously sings at frequencies of five or more cycles per second, excited by local and regional winds blowing across its snow dune-like topography. We find that the frequencies and other features of this singing change, both as storms alter the snow dunes and during a (January 2016) warming event that resulted in melting in the ice shelf's near surface. These observations demonstrate that seismological monitoring can be used to continually monitor the near-surface conditions of an ice shelf and other icy bodies to depths of several meters.

Chen, Z, Bromirski PD, Gerstoft P, Stephen RA, Wiens DA, Aster RC, Nyblade AA.  2018.  Ocean-excited plate waves in the Ross and Pine Island Glacier ice shelves. Journal of Glaciology. 64:730-744.   10.1017/jog.2018.66   AbstractWebsite

Ice shelves play an important role in buttressing land ice from reaching the sea, thus restraining the rate of grounded ice loss. Long-period gravity-wave impacts excite vibrations in ice shelves that can expand pre-existing fractures and trigger iceberg calving. To investigate the spatial amplitude variability and propagation characteristics of these vibrations, a 34-station broadband seismic array was deployed on the Ross Ice Shelf (RIS) from November 2014 to November 2016. Two types of ice-shelf plate waves were identified with beamforming: flexural-gravity waves and extensional Lamb waves. Below 20 mHz, flexural-gravity waves dominate coherent signals across the array and propagate landward from the ice front at close to shallow-water gravity-wave speeds (similar to 70 m s(-1)). In the 20-100 mHz band, extensional Lamb waves dominate and propagate at phase speeds similar to 3 km s(-1). Flexural-gravity and extensional Lamb waves were also observed by a 5-station broadband seismic array deployed on the Pine Island Glacier (PIG) ice shelf from January 2012 to December 2013, with flexural wave energy, also detected at the PIG in the 20-100 mHz band. Considering the ubiquitous presence of storm activity in the Southern Ocean and the similar observations at both the RIS and the PIG ice shelves, it is likely that most, if not all, West Antarctic ice shelves are subjected to similar gravity-wave excitation.

Shen, WS, Wiens DA, Anandakrishnan S, Aster RC, Gerstoft P, Bromirski PD, Hansen SE, Dalziel IWD, Heeszel DS, Huerta AD, Nyblade AA, Stephen R, Wilson TJ, Winberry JP.  2018.  The crust and upper mantle structure of central and west Antarctica from bayesian inversion of rayleigh wave and receiver functions. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 123:7824-7849.   10.1029/2017jb015346   AbstractWebsite

We construct a new seismic model for central and West Antarctica by jointly inverting Rayleigh wave phase and group velocities along with P wave receiver functions. Ambient noise tomography exploiting data from more than 200 seismic stations deployed over the past 18years is used to construct Rayleigh wave phase and group velocity dispersion maps. Comparison between the ambient noise phase velocity maps with those constructed using teleseismic earthquakes confirms the accuracy of both results. These maps, together with P receiver function waveforms, are used to construct a new 3-D shear velocity (Vs) model for the crust and uppermost mantle using a Bayesian Monte Carlo algorithm. The new 3-D seismic model shows the dichotomy of the tectonically active West Antarctica (WANT) and the stable and ancient East Antarctica (EANT). In WANT, the model exhibits a slow uppermost mantle along the Transantarctic Mountains (TAMs) front, interpreted as the thermal effect from Cenozoic rifting. Beneath the southern TAMs, the slow uppermost mantle extends horizontally beneath the traditionally recognized EANT, hypothesized to be associated with lithospheric delamination. Thin crust and lithosphere observed along the Amundsen Sea coast and extending into the interior suggest involvement of these areas in Cenozoic rifting. EANT, with its relatively thick and cold crust and lithosphere marked by high Vs, displays a slower Vs anomaly beneath the Gamburtsev Subglacial Mountains in the uppermost mantle, which we hypothesize may be the signature of a compositionally anomalous body, perhaps remnant from a continental collision.

Bromirski, PD, Chen Z, Stephen RA, Gerstoft P, Arcas D, Diez A, Aster RC, Wiens DA, Nyblade A.  2017.  Tsunami and infragravity waves impacting Antarctic ice shelves. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 122:5786-5801.   10.1002/2017jc012913   AbstractWebsite

The responses of the Ross Ice Shelf (RIS) to the 16 September 2015 8.3 (M-w) Chilean earthquake tsunami (>75 s period) and to oceanic infragravity (IG) waves (50-300 s period) were recorded by a broadband seismic array deployed on the RIS from November 2014 to November 2016. Here we show that tsunami and IG-generated signals within the RIS propagate at gravity wave speeds (similar to 70 m/s) as water-ice coupled flexural-gravity waves. IG band signals show measureable attenuation away from the shelf front. The response of the RIS to Chilean tsunami arrivals is compared with modeled tsunami forcing to assess ice shelf flexural-gravity wave excitation by very long period (VLP; >300 s) gravity waves. Displacements across the RIS are affected by gravity wave incident direction, bathymetry under and north of the shelf, and water layer and ice shelf thicknesses. Horizontal displacements are typically about 10 times larger than vertical displacements, producing dynamical extensional motions that may facilitate expansion of existing fractures. VLP excitation is continuously observed throughout the year, with horizontal displacements highest during the austral winter with amplitudes exceeding 20 cm. Because VLP flexural-gravity waves exhibit no discernable attenuation, this energy must propagate to the grounding zone. Both IG and VLP band flexural-gravity waves excite mechanical perturbations of the RIS that likely promote tabular iceberg calving, consequently affecting ice shelf evolution. Understanding these ocean-excited mechanical interactions is important to determine their effect on ice shelf stability to reduce uncertainty in the magnitude and rate of global sea level rise. Plain Language Summary A major source of the uncertainty in the magnitude and rate of global sea level rise is the contribution from Antarctica. Ice shelves buttress land ice, restraining land ice from reaching the sea. We present the analysis of seismic data collected with a broadband seismic array deployed on the Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica. The characteristics of ocean gravity-wave-induced vibrations, that may expand existing fractures in the ice shelf and/or trigger iceberg calving or ice shelf collapse events, are described. The mechanical dynamic strains induced can potentially affect ice shelf integrity, and ultimately reduce or remove buttressing restraints, accelerating sea level rise.

Bromirski, PD, Flick RE, Miller AJ.  2017.  Storm surge along the Pacific coast of North America. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 122:441-457.   10.1002/2016jc012178   AbstractWebsite

Storm surge is an important factor that contributes to coastal flooding and erosion. Storm surge magnitude along eastern North Pacific coasts results primarily from low sea level pressure (SLP). Thus, coastal regions where high surge occurs identify the dominant locations where intense storms make landfall, controlled by storm track across the North Pacific. Here storm surge variability along the Pacific coast of North America is characterized by positive nontide residuals at a network of tide gauge stations from southern California to Alaska. The magnitudes of mean and extreme storm surge generally increase from south to north, with typically high amplitude surge north of Cape Mendocino and lower surge to the south. Correlation of mode 1 nontide principal component (PC1) during winter months (December-February) with anomalous SLP over the northeast Pacific indicates that the dominant storm landfall region is along the Cascadia/British Columbia coast. Although empirical orthogonal function spatial patterns show substantial interannual variability, similar correlation patterns of nontide PC1 over the 1948-1975 and 1983-2014 epochs with anomalous SLP suggest that, when considering decadal-scale time periods, storm surge and associated tracks have generally not changed appreciably since 1948. Nontide PC1 is well correlated with PC1 of both anomalous SLP and modeled wave height near the tide gauge stations, reflecting the interrelationship between storms, surge, and waves. Weaker surge south of Cape Mendocino during the 2015-2016 El Nino compared with 1982-1983 may result from changes in Hadley circulation. Importantly from a coastal impacts perspective, extreme storm surge events are often accompanied by high waves.

Costa-Cabral, M, Rath JS, Mills WB, Roy SB, Bromirski PD, Milesi C.  2016.  Projecting and forecasting winter precipitation extremes and meteorological drought in California using the North Pacific high sea level pressure anomaly. Journal of Climate. 29:5009-5026.   10.1175/jcli-d-15-0525.1   AbstractWebsite

Large-scale climatic indices have been used as predictors of precipitation totals and extremes in many studies and are used operationally in weather forecasts to circumvent the difficulty in obtaining robust dynamical simulations of precipitation. The authors show that the sea level pressure North Pacific high (NPH) wintertime anomaly, a component of the Northern Oscillation index (NOI), provides a superior covariate of interannual precipitation variability in Northern California, including seasonal precipitation totals, drought, and extreme precipitation intensity, compared to traditional ENSO indices such as the Southern Oscillation index (SOI), the multivariate ENSO index (MEI), NiNo-3.4, and others. Furthermore, the authors show that the NPH anomaly more closely reflects the influence of Pacific basin conditions over California in general, over groups of stations used to characterize statewide precipitation in the Sierra Nevada range, and over the southern San Francisco Bay region (NASA Ames Research Center). This paper uses the term prediction to refer to the estimation of precipitation (the predictand) from a climate covariate (the predictor), such as a climate index, or atmospheric moisture. In this sense, predictor and predictand are simultaneous in time. Statistical models employed show the effectiveness of the NPH winter anomaly as a predictor of total winter precipitation and daily precipitation extremes at the Moffett Field station. NPH projected by global climate models is also used in conjunction with atmospheric humidity [atmospheric specific humidity (HUS) at the 850-hPa level] to obtain projections of mean and extreme precipitation. The authors show that future development of accurate forecasts of NPH anomalies issued several months in advance is important for forecasting total winter precipitation and is expected to directly benefit water resource management in California. Therefore, the authors suggest that investigating the lead-time predictability of NPH anomalies is an important direction for future research.

Diez, A, Bromirski PD, Gerstoft P, Stephen RA, Anthony RE, Aster RC, Cai C, Nyblade A, Wiens DA.  2016.  Ice shelf structure derived from dispersion curve analysis of ambient seismic noise, Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica. Geophysical Journal International. 205:785-795.   10.1093/gji/ggw036   AbstractWebsite

An L-configured, three-component short period seismic array was deployed on the Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica during November 2014. Polarization analysis of ambient noise data from these stations shows linearly polarized waves for frequency bands between 0.2 and 2 Hz. A spectral peak at about 1.6 Hz is interpreted as the resonance frequency of the water column and is used to estimate the water layer thickness below the ice shelf. The frequency band from 4 to 18 Hz is dominated by Rayleigh and Love waves propagating from the north that, based on daily temporal variations, we conclude were generated by field camp activity. Frequency-slowness plots were calculated using beamforming. Resulting Love and Rayleigh wave dispersion curves were inverted for the shear wave velocity profile within the firn and ice to similar to 150 m depth. The derived density profile allows estimation of the pore close-off depth and the firn-air content thickness. Separate inversions of Rayleigh and Love wave dispersion curves give different shear wave velocity profiles within the firn. We attribute this difference to an effective anisotropy due to fine layering. The layered structure of firn, ice, water and the seafloor results in a characteristic dispersion curve below 7 Hz. Forward modelling the observed Rayleigh wave dispersion curves using representative firn, ice, water and sediment structures indicates that Rayleigh waves are observed when wavelengths are long enough to span the distance from the ice shelf surface to the seafloor. The forward modelling shows that analysis of seismic data from an ice shelf provides the possibility of resolving ice shelf thickness, water column thickness and the physical properties of the ice shelf and underlying seafloor using passive-source seismic data.

Chen, Z, Gerstoft P, Bromirski PD.  2016.  Microseism source direction from noise cross-correlation. Geophysical Journal International. 205:810-818.   10.1093/gji/ggw055   AbstractWebsite

Inhomogeneous noise sources surrounding stations produce asymmetric amplitudes in cross-correlation functions that yield preferential source directions. Here we show that preprocessing biases the dominant source direction estimate towards the source producing long-duration signals by down-weighting high-amplitude signals. Tests with both synthetic data and observations show that conventional preprocessing, where only earthquakes and local transients (e.g. trawling, fish impacts) are removed, is more sensitive to coherent energy, while one-bit preprocessing and running-absolute-mean preprocessing are more influenced by signal duration. Comparisons between different preprocessing methods are made on data from the Cascadia Initiative ocean bottom seismometer array, where we find that the total energy arriving from pelagic and coastal areas is similar. Moreover, pelagic-generated signals tend to be weaker but have longer duration, in contrast to coastal-generated signals that tend to be stronger but have shorter duration.

Bromirski, PD, Diez A, Gerstoft P, Stephen RA, Bolmer T, Wiens DA, Aster RC, Nyblade A.  2015.  Ross Ice Shelf vibrations. Geophysical Research Letters. 42:7589-7597.   10.1002/2015gl065284   AbstractWebsite

Broadband seismic stations were deployed across the Ross Ice Shelf (RIS) in November 2014 to study ocean gravity wave-induced vibrations. Initial data from three stations 100km from the RIS front and within 10km of each other show both dispersed infragravity (IG) wave and ocean swell-generated signals resulting from waves that originate in the North Pacific. Spectral levels from 0.001 to 10Hz have the highest accelerations in the IG band (0.0025-0.03Hz). Polarization analyses indicate complex frequency-dependent particle motions, with energy in several frequency bands having distinctly different propagation characteristics. The dominant IG band signals exhibit predominantly horizontal propagation from the north. Particle motion analyses indicate retrograde elliptical particle motions in the IG band, consistent with these signals propagating as Rayleigh-Lamb (flexural) waves in the ice shelf/water cavity system that are excited by ocean wave interactions nearer the shelf front.

Rasmussen, L, Bromirski PD, Miller AJ, Arcas D, Flick RE, Hendershott MC.  2015.  Source location impact on relative tsunami strength along the US West Coast. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 120:4945-4961.   10.1002/2015jc010718   AbstractWebsite

Tsunami propagation simulations are used to identify which tsunami source locations would produce the highest amplitude waves on approach to key population centers along the U.S. West Coast. The reasons for preferential influence of certain remote excitation sites are explored by examining model time sequences of tsunami wave patterns emanating from the source. Distant bathymetric features in the West and Central Pacific can redirect tsunami energy into narrow paths with anomalously large wave height that have disproportionate impact on small areas of coastline. The source region generating the waves can be as little as 100 km along a subduction zone, resulting in distinct source-target pairs with sharply amplified wave energy at the target. Tsunami spectral ratios examined for transects near the source, after crossing the West Pacific, and on approach to the coast illustrate how prominent bathymetric features alter wave spectral distributions, and relate to both the timing and magnitude of waves approaching shore. To contextualize the potential impact of tsunamis from high-amplitude source-target pairs, the source characteristics of major historical earthquakes and tsunamis in 1960, 1964, and 2011 are used to generate comparable events originating at the highest-amplitude source locations for each coastal target. This creates a type of ``worst-case scenario,'' a replicate of each region's historically largest earthquake positioned at the fault segment that would produce the most incoming tsunami energy at each target port. An amplification factor provides a measure of how the incoming wave height from the worst-case source compares to the historical event.

Bromirski, PD, Cayan DR.  2015.  Wave power variability and trends across the North Atlantic influenced by decadal climate patterns. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 120:3419-3443.   10.1002/2014jc010440   AbstractWebsite

Climate variations influence North Atlantic winter storm intensity and resultant variations in wave energy levels. A 60 year hindcast allows investigation of the influence of decadal climate variability on long-term trends of North Atlantic wave power, P-W, spanning the 1948-2008 epoch. P-W variations over much of the eastern North Atlantic are strongly influenced by the fluctuating North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) atmospheric circulation pattern, consistent with previous studies of significant wave height, Hs. Wave activity in the western Atlantic also responds to fluctuations in Pacific climate modes, including the Pacific North American (PNA) pattern and the El Nino/Southern Oscillation. The magnitude of upward long-term trends during winter over the northeast Atlantic is strongly influenced by heightened storm activity under the extreme positive phase of winter NAO in the early 1990s. In contrast, P-W along the United States East Coast shows no increasing trend, with wave activity there most closely associated with the PNA. Strong wave power events exhibit significant upward trends along the Atlantic coasts of Iceland and Europe during winter months. Importantly, in opposition to the long-term increase of P-W, a recent general decrease in P-W across the North Atlantic from 2000 to 2008 occurred. The 2000-2008 decrease was associated with a general shift of winter NAO to its negative phase, underscoring the control exerted by fluctuating North Atlantic atmospheric circulation on P-W trends.

Ying, YZ, Bean CJ, Bromirski PD.  2014.  Propagation of microseisms from the deep ocean to land. Geophysical Research Letters. 41:6374-6379.   10.1002/2014gl060979   AbstractWebsite

Ocean-generated microseisms are faint Earth vibrations that result from pressure fluctuations at the sea floor generated by the interaction between ocean surface gravity waves, and are continuously recorded as low frequency seismic noise. Here we investigate microseism propagation away from deep-ocean source regions using the spectral element method for an oceanic model that contains realistic northeast Atlantic Ocean irregular-layered structure composed of water, sediment, and upper crust. It also includes structural heterogeneities and continental slope and shelf bathymetry. Numerical simulations of coupled acoustic and elastic wave propagation in both simplified models and the full realistic model show that most microseism energy is confined to sediment and water column waveguides. We also show that a significant portion of microseism energy is reflected back to the deep ocean by the continental slope, while only a small fraction of deep-ocean-generated microseism energy reaches land. We conclude that terrestrially observed microseisms are largely generated in shallow water on continental shelves.

Toomey, DR, Allen RM, Barclay AH, Bell SW, Bromirski PD, Carlson RL, Chen XW, Collins JA, Dziak RP, Evers B, Forsyth DW, Gerstoft P, Hooft EEE, Livelybrooks D, Lodewyk JA, Luther DS, McGuire JJ, Schwartz SY, Tolstoy M, Trehu AM, Weirathmueller M, Wilcock WSD.  2014.  The Cascadia Initiative: A sea change in seismological studies of subduction zones. Oceanography. 27:138-150. AbstractWebsite

Increasing public awareness that the Cascadia subduction zone in the Pacific Northwest is capable of great earthquakes (magnitude 9 and greater) motivates the Cascadia Initiative, an ambitious onshore/offshore seismic and geodetic experiment that takes advantage of an amphibious array to study questions ranging from megathrust earthquakes, to volcanic arc structure, to the formation, deformation and hydration of the Juan De Fuca and Gorda Plates. Here, we provide an overview of the Cascadia Initiative, including its primary science objectives, its experimental design and implementation, and a preview of how the resulting data are being used by a diverse and growing scientific community. The Cascadia Initiative also exemplifies how new technology and community-based experiments are opening up frontiers for marine science. The new technology shielded ocean bottom seismometers is allowing more routine investigation of the source zone of megathrust earthquakes, which almost exclusively lies offshore and in shallow water. The Cascadia Initiative offers opportunities and accompanying challenges to a rapidly expanding community of those who use ocean bottom seismic data.

Vose, RS, Applequist S, Bourassa MKA, Pryor SC, Barthelmie RJ, Blanton B, Bromirski PD, Brooks HOE, DeGaetano AT, Dole RM, Easterling DR, Jensen RE, Karl TR, Katz RW, Klink K, Kruk MC, Kunkel KE, MacCracken MC, Peterson TSC, Shein K, Thomas BR, Walsh JE, Wang XLL, Wehner MF, Wuebbles DJ, Young RS.  2014.  Monitoring and understanding changes in extremes: Extratropical storms, winds, and waves. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. 95:377-386.   10.1175/bams-d-12-00162.1   AbstractWebsite

This scientific assessment examines changes in three climate extremesextratropical storms, winds, and waveswith an emphasis on U.S. coastal regions during the cold season. There is moderate evidence of an increase in both extratropical storm frequency and intensity during the cold season in the Northern Hemisphere since 1950, with suggestive evidence of geographic shifts resulting in slight upward trends in offshore/coastal regions. There is also suggestive evidence of an increase in extreme winds (at least annually) over parts of the ocean since the early to mid-1980s, but the evidence over the U.S. land surface is inconclusive. Finally, there is moderate evidence of an increase in extreme waves in winter along the Pacific coast since the 1950s, but along other U.S. shorelines any tendencies are of modest magnitude compared with historical variability. The data for extratropical cyclones are considered to be of relatively high quality for trend detection, whereas the data for extreme winds and waves are judged to be of intermediate quality. In terms of physical causes leading to multidecadal changes, the level of understanding for both extratropical storms and extreme winds is considered to be relatively low, while that for extreme waves is judged to be intermediate. Since the ability to measure these changes with some confidence is relatively recent, understanding is expected to improve in the future for a variety of reasons, including increased periods of record and the development of climate reanalysis projects.

Graham, NE, Cayan DR, Bromirski PD, Flick RE.  2013.  Multi-model projections of twenty-first century North Pacific winter wave climate under the IPCC A2 scenario. Climate Dynamics. 40:1335-1360.   10.1007/s00382-012-1435-8   AbstractWebsite

A dynamical wave model implemented over the North Pacific Ocean was forced with winds from three coupled global climate models (CGCMs) run under a medium-to-high scenario for greenhouse gas emissions through the twenty-first century. The results are analyzed with respect to changes in upper quantiles of significant wave height (90th and 99th percentile H-S) during boreal winter. The three CGCMs produce surprisingly similar patterns of change in winter wave climate during the century, with waves becoming 10-15 % smaller over the lower mid-latitudes of the North Pacific, particularly in the central and western ocean. These decreases are closely associated with decreasing windspeeds along the southern flank of the main core of the westerlies. At higher latitudes, 99th percentile wave heights generally increase, though the patterns of change are less uniform than at lower latitudes. The increased wave heights at high latitudes appear to be due a variety of wind-related factors including both increased windspeeds and changes in the structure of the wind field, these varying from model to model. For one of the CGCMs, a commonly used statistical approach for estimating seasonal quantiles of H-S on the basis of seasonal mean sea level pressure (SLP) is used to develop a regression model from 60 years of twentieth century data as a training set, and then applied using twenty-first century SLP data. The statistical model reproduces the general pattern of decreasing twenty-first century wave heights south of similar to 40 N, but underestimates the magnitude of the changes by similar to 50-70 %, reflecting relatively weak coupling between sea level pressure and wave heights in the CGCM data and loss of variability in the statistically projected wave heights.

Moftakhari, HR, Jay DA, Talke SA, Kukulka T, Bromirski PD.  2013.  A novel approach to flow estimation in tidal rivers. Water Resources Research. 49:4817-4832. AbstractWebsite
Bromirski, PD, Stephen RA, Gerstoft P.  2013.  Are deep-ocean-generated surface-wave microseisms observed on land? Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth. 118:3610-3629.   10.1002/jgrb.50268   AbstractWebsite

Recent studies attribute land double-frequency (DF) microseism observations to deep water generation. Here we show that near-coastal generation is generally the dominant source region. This determination is based on observations at land and ocean seismic stations, buoys, gravity-wave hindcasts, and on beamforming results from continental seismic arrays. Interactions between opposing ocean wave components generate a pressure excitation pulse at twice the ocean wave frequency that excites pseudo-Rayleigh (pRg) wave DF microseisms. pRg generated in shallow coastal waters have most of their energy in the solid Earth (“elastic” pRg) and are observed by land-based and seafloor seismometers as DF microseisms. pRg generated in the deep ocean have most of their energy in the ocean (“acoustic” pRg) and are continuously observed on the ocean bottom, but acoustic pRg does not efficiently transition onto continents. High-amplitude DF signals over the [0.2, 0.3] Hz band observed on the deep seafloor are uncorrelated with continental observations and are not clearly detectable at individual continental stations or by land seismic-array beamforming. Below 0.2 Hz, modeling and some observations suggest that some deep water-generated elastic pRg energy can reach continental stations, providing that losses from scattering and transition across the continental-shelf boundary to the shore are not substantial. However, most observations indicate that generally little deep-ocean-generated DF microseism energy reaches continental stations. Effectively, DF land observations are dominated by near-coastal wave activity.

Moon, JH, Song YT, Bromirski PD, Miller AJ.  2013.  Multidecadal regional sea level shifts in the Pacific over 1958-2008. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 118:7024-7035.   10.1002/2013jc009297   AbstractWebsite

Altimeter data have significantly improved our understanding of regional sea level variability and trends, but their relatively short records do not allow either evaluation of the ocean state prior to 1993 or multidecadal low-frequency signals in the ocean. Here we characterize and quantify the multidecadal regional sea level rise (rSLR) and related ocean heat content in the Pacific from a non-Boussinesq ocean circulation model in comparison with data sets from altimeters, two sea level reconstructions, and in situ ocean profiles from 1958 to 2008. We show that the rSLR trends have undergone two shifts, during the mid-1970s and in the early 1990s, with an east-west dipole pattern in the tropical Pacific. In each of these phases, rSLR accelerated on one side of the Pacific, but decelerated on the other side. The multidecadal sea level shifts can be explained by the dynamical (steric) upper-ocean responses to the surface wind forcing associated with the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), with negligible contributions from internal (depth-integrated) ocean mass changes. Additional model experimentation further confirms that the Pacific wind stress trend over the recent two decades has played an important role in strengthening the rSLR in the western Pacific while suppressing the rSLR in the eastern Pacific. The climate-forced large-scale rSLR variability is likely to impose a long-term and uneven impact on coastal communities.

Bromirski, PD, Cayan DR, Helly J, Wittmann P.  2013.  Wave power variability and trends across the North Pacific. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 118:6329-6348.   10.1002/2013jc009189   AbstractWebsite

Multiyear climate variations influence North Pacific storm intensity and resultant variations in wave energy levels. The timing of these decadal fluctuations and strong El Nino's have had a strong influence on long-term trends. Here we investigate variations in the North Pacific wave power, P-W, determined from WAVEWATCH III (WW3) wave model significant wave height, Hs, and peak period data forced by NRA-1 winds spanning the 1948-2008 epoch. Over the entire hindcast, upward trends in Hs and P-W, especially in winter, are observed over much of the North Pacific, strongly influenced by an apparent storm intensification after the mid-1970s regime shift. Heightened P-W is concentrated in particular regions of the basin, and is associated with increased wave activity during the warm phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). Wave power events, P-E, defined as episodes when Hs exceeded the 90th percentile threshold for at least 12 h, exhibit significant upward trends along much of the U.S. Pacific coast during winter months. Importantly, the hindcast exhibits a recent decrease in P-W across much of the North Pacific, in contrast to the long-term increase of P-W and Hs. This recent decrease is associated with the prevalent PDO cool phase that developed after the late 1990s. Variability and intensification of coastal P-W and P-E have important practical implications for shoreline and beach erosion, coastal wetlands inundation, storm-surge flooding, and coastal planning. These considerations will become increasingly important as sea level rises.

Traer, J, Gerstoft P, Bromirski PD, Shearer PM.  2012.  Microseisms and hum from ocean surface gravity waves. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 117   10.1029/2012jb009550   AbstractWebsite

Ocean waves incident on coasts generate seismic surface waves in three frequency bands via three pathways: direct pressure on the seafloor (primary microseisms, PM), standing waves from interaction of incident and reflected waves (double-frequency microseisms, DF), and swell-transformed infragravity wave interactions (the Earth's seismic hum). Beamforming of USArray seismic data shows that the source azimuths of the generation regions of hum, PM and DF microseisms vary seasonally, consistent with hemispheric storm patterns. The correlation of beam power with wave height over all azimuths is highest in near-coastal waters. Seismic signals generated by waves from Hurricane Irene and from a storm in the Southern Ocean have good spatial and temporal correlation with nearshore wave height and peak period for all three wave-induced seismic signals, suggesting that ocean waves in shallow water commonly excite hum (via infragravity waves), PM, and DF microseisms concurrently.

Bromirski, PD, Stephen RA.  2012.  Response of the Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica, to ocean gravity-wave forcing. Annals of Glaciology. 53:163-172.   10.3189/2012AoG60A058   AbstractWebsite

Comparison of the Ross Ice Shelf (RIS, Antarctica) response at near-front seismic station RIS2 with seismometer data collected on tabular iceberg B15A and with land-based seismic stations at Scott Base on Ross Island (SBA) and near Lake Vanda in the Dry Valleys (VNDA) allows identification of RIS-specific signals resulting from gravity-wave forcing that includes meteorologically driven wind waves and swell, infragravity (IG) waves and tsunami waves. The vibration response of the RIS varies with season and with the frequency and amplitude of the gravity-wave forcing. The response of the RIS to IG wave and swell impacts is much greater than that observed at SBA and VNDA. A spectral peak at near-ice-front seismic station RIS2 centered near 0.5 Hz, which persists during April when swell is damped by sea ice, may be a dominant resonance or eigenfrequency of the RIS. High-amplitude swell events excite relatively broadband signals that are likely fracture events (icequakes). Changes in coherence between the vertical and horizontal sensors in the 8-12 Hz band from February to April, combined with the appearance of a spectral peak near 10 Hz in April when sea ice damps swell, suggest that lower (higher) temperatures during austral winter (summer) months affect signal propagation characteristics and hence mechanical properties of the RIS.

Bromirski, PD, Miller AJ, Flick RE, Auad G.  2011.  Dynamical suppression of sea level rise along the Pacific coast of North America: Indications for imminent acceleration. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 116   10.1029/2010jc006759   AbstractWebsite

Long-term changes in global mean sea level (MSL) rise have important practical implications for shoreline and beach erosion, coastal wetlands inundation, storm surge flooding, and coastal development. Altimetry since 1993 indicates that global MSL rise has increased about 50% above the 20th century rise rate, from 2 to 3 mm yr(-1). At the same time, both tide gauge measurements and altimetry indicate virtually no increase along the Pacific coast of North America during the satellite epoch. Here we show that the dynamical steric response of North Pacific eastern boundary ocean circulation to a dramatic change in wind stress curl, tau(xy), which occurred after the mid-1970s regime shift, can account for the suppression of regional sea level rise along this coast since 1980. Alarmingly, mean tau(xy) over the North Pacific recently reached levels not observed since before the mid-1970s regime shift. This change in wind stress patterns may be foreshadowing a Pacific Decadal Oscillation regime shift, causing an associated persistent change in basin-scale tau(xy) that may result in a concomitant resumption of sea level rise along the U.S. West Coast to global or even higher rates.

Aster, RC, McNamara DE, Bromirski PD.  2010.  Global trends in extremal microseism intensity. Geophysical Research Letters. 37   10.1029/2010gl043472   AbstractWebsite

Globally ubiquitous seismic background noise peaks near 7 and 14 s period are generated via distinct mechanisms that transfer storm-generated gravity wave energy to the seismic wave field. We utilize continuous digital ground motion data recorded by the Global Seismographic Network and precursor instrumentation to chronicle microseism power extreme events for 1972-2009. Because most land-observed microseism surface-wave energy is generated at or near coasts, microseism metrics are particularly relevant to assessing changes in coastal ocean wave energy. Extreme microseism winter storm season event counts reveal the widespread influence of the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Individual station and ensemble slopes trend positive for this study period for Northern Hemisphere stations. The double-frequency microseism is particularly volatile, suggesting that the weaker single-frequency microseism directly generated by ocean swell at coasts is likely a more representative seismic proxy for broad-scale ocean wave energy estimation. Citation: Aster, R. C., D. E. McNamara, and P. D. Bromirski (2010), Global trends in extremal microseism intensity, Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L14303, doi: 10.1029/2010GL043472.

Bromirski, PD, Sergienko OV, MacAyeal DR.  2010.  Transoceanic infragravity waves impacting Antarctic ice shelves. Geophysical Research Letters. 37   10.1029/2009gl041488   AbstractWebsite

Long-period oceanic infragravity (IG) waves (ca. [250, 50] s period) are generated along continental coastlines by nonlinear wave interactions of storm-forced shoreward propagating swell. Seismic observations on the Ross Ice Shelf show that free IG waves generated along the Pacific coast of North America propagate transoceanically to Antarctica, where they induce a much higher amplitude shelf response than ocean swell (ca. [30, 12] s period). Additionally, unlike ocean swell, IG waves are not significantly damped by sea ice, and thus impact the ice shelf throughout the year. The response of the Ross Ice Shelf to IG-wave induced flexural stresses is more than 60 dB greater than concurrent ground motions measured at nearby Scott Base. This strong coupling suggests that IG-wave forcing may produce ice-shelf fractures that enable abrupt disintegration of ice shelves that are also affected by strong surface melting. Bolstering this hypothesis, each of the 2008 breakup events of the Wilkins Ice Shelf coincides with wave-model-estimated arrival of IG-wave energy from the Patagonian coast. Citation: Bromirski, P. D., O. V. Sergienko, and D. R. MacAyeal (2010), Transoceanic infragravity waves impacting Antarctic ice shelves, Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L02502, doi:10.1029/2009GL041488.

Zhang, JA, Gerstoft P, Bromirski PD.  2010.  Pelagic and coastal sources of P-wave microseisms: Generation under tropical cyclones. Geophysical Research Letters. 37   10.1029/2010gl044288   AbstractWebsite

Nonlinear wave-wave interactions generate double-frequency (DF) microseisms, which include both surface waves (mainly Rayleigh-type) and compressional (P) waves. Although it is unclear whether DF surface waves generated in deep oceans are observed on land, we show that beamforming of land-based seismic array data allows detection of DF P waves generated by ocean waves from Super Typhoon Ioke in both pelagic and coastal regions. Two distinct spectral bands associated with different P-wave source locations are observed. The short-period DF band (0.16-0.35 Hz) is dominated by P waves generated in the deep ocean by local wind seas under the storm. In contrast, P waves in the long-period DF band (0.1-0.15 Hz) are weaker and generated closer to the coast of Japan from swell interactions. The accurate identification of DF P-wave microseism source areas is useful to monitor ocean wave-wave interactions due to tropical cyclones and to image Earth structure using ambient seismic noise. Citation: Zhang, J., P. Gerstoft, and P. D. Bromirski (2010), Pelagic and coastal sources of P-wave microseisms: Generation under tropical cyclones, Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L15301, doi: 10.1029/2010GL044288.