Publications

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2017
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.

2015
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.

2013
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.

2010
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.

2009
Bromirski, PD, Gerstoft P.  2009.  Dominant source regions of the Earth's "hum'' are coastal. Geophysical Research Letters. 36   10.1029/2009gl038903   AbstractWebsite

Hum beam power observations using the USArray EarthScope transportable array, combined with infragravity wave observations, show that the dominant source area of the Earth's hum over the 120-400 s period band during winter months is the Pacific coast of North America, with the western coast of Europe a secondary source region. Correlation of hum with model ocean wave heights indicates that the Pacific coast of Central America is an important hum source region when impacted by austral storm waves. Hum is excited by relatively local infragravity wave forcing as ocean swell propagates along coasts, with no indication of significant deep-ocean hum generation. Citation: Bromirski, P. D., and P. Gerstoft (2009), Dominant source regions of the Earth's "hum'' are coastal, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L13303, doi: 10.1029/2009GL038903.