Publications

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2018
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.

2016
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.

2015
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.

2011
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.

2010
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.

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.

2008
Aster, RC, McNamara DE, Bromirski PD.  2008.  Multidecadal climate-induced variability in microseisms. Seismological Research Letters. 79:194-202.   10.1785/gssrl.79.2.194   AbstractWebsite

Microseisms are the most ubiquitous continuous seismic signals on Earth at periods between approximately 5 and 25 s (Peterson 1993; Kedar and Webb 2005). They arise from atmospheric energy converted to (primarily) Rayleigh waves via the intermediary of wind-driven oceanic swell and occupy a period band that is uninfluenced by common anthropogenic and wind-coupled noise processes on land (Wilson et al. 2002; de la Torre et al. 2005). “Primary” microseisms (near 8-s period) are generated in shallow water by breaking waves near the shore and/or the nonlinear interaction of the ocean wave pressure signal with the sloping sea floor (Hasselmann 1963). Secondary microseisms occur at half of the primary period and are especially strongly radiated in source regions where opposing wave components interfere (Longuett-Higgins 1950; Tanimoto 2007), which principally occurs due to the interaction of incident swell and reflected/scattered wave energy from coasts (Bromirski and Duennebier 2002; Bromirski, Duennebier, and Stephen 2005). Coastal regions having a narrow shelf with irregular and rocky coastlines are known to be especially efficient at radiating secondary microseisms (Bromirski, Duennebier, and Stephen 2005; Shulte-Pelkum et al. 2004). The secondary microseism is globally dominant, and its amplitudes proportional to the square of the standing wave height (Longuett-Higgins 1950), which amplifies its sensitivity to large swell events (Astiz and Creager 1994; Webb 2006).

2006
Stephen, RA, Duennebier FK, Harris D, Jolly J, Bolmer ST, Bromirski PD.  2006.  Broadband seismic observations at the Hawaii-2 Observatory, ODP Leg 200. Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Scientific Results. 200   10.2973/odp.proc.sr.200.007.2006   AbstractWebsite

Among the groups of oceanic microfossils, only Radiolaria occur in abundances and preservation states sufficient to provide biostratigraphic control for restricted intervals within sediments recovered in Hole 1223A. The distribution of these microfossils has been divided into four major intervals, A-D. Radiolaria distribution Interval A occupies the depth range 0-3.0 meters below seafloor (mbsf), where the abundance of specimens is very low and preservation is poor. Radiolaria distribution Interval B occupies the depth range 3.02-7.1 mbsf. Radiolaria in Interval B are locally rare to abundant and well preserved, and assemblages range in age from pure early Eocene to early Eocene admixed with late Neogene taxa. Radiolaria distribution Interval C occupies the depth range 7.1-36.99 mbsf and is characterized by sediments either barren of microfossils or containing extremely rare early Eocene specimens. Radiolaria distribution Interval D occupies the depth range 36.99-38.7 mbsf (base of the recovered sedimentary section), where early Eocene Radiolaria are present in rare to common frequencies, but opal-A to opal-CT recrystallization has degraded the preservation state. The late Neogene assemblage of Radiolaria distribution Interval B is dated at 1.55-2.0 Ma, based on occurrences of Eucyrtidium matuyamai, Lamprocyclas heteroporos, and Theocorythium trachelium trachelium. The early Eocene assemblage of Radiolaria distribution Intervals B and D is somewhat problematically assigned to the Buryella clinata Zone.

2005
Bromirski, PD, Cayan DR, Flick RE.  2005.  Wave spectral energy variability in the northeast Pacific. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 110   10.1029/2004jc002398   AbstractWebsite

The dominant characteristics of wave energy variability in the eastern North Pacific are described from NOAA National Data Buoy Center ( NDBC) buoy data collected from 1981 to 2003. Ten buoys at distributed locations were selected for comparison based on record duration and data continuity. Long- period ( LP) [ T > 12] s, intermediate- period [ 6 <= T <= 12] s, and short- period [ T < 6] s wave spectral energy components are considered separately. Empirical orthogonal function ( EOF) analyses of monthly wave energy anomalies reveal that all three wave energy components exhibit similar patterns of spatial variability. The dominant mode represents coherent heightened ( or diminished) wave energy along the West Coast from Alaska to southern California, as indicated by composites of the 700 hPa height field. The second EOF mode reveals a distinct El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO)-associated spatial distribution of wave energy, which occurs when the North Pacific storm track is extended unusually far south or has receded to the north. Monthly means and principal components (PCs) of wave energy levels indicate that the 1997 - 1998 El Nino- winter had the highest basin- wide wave energy within this record, substantially higher than the 1982 - 1983 El Nino. An increasing trend in the dominant PC of LP wave energy suggests that storminess has increased in the northeast Pacific since 1980. This trend is emphasized at central eastern North Pacific locations. Patterns of storminess variability are consistent with increasing activity in the central North Pacific as well as the tendency for more extreme waves in the south during El Nino episodes and in the north during La Nina.

Bromirski, PD, Duennebier FK, Stephen RA.  2005.  Mid-ocean microseisms. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems. 6   10.1029/2004gc000768   AbstractWebsite

The Hawaii-2 Observatory (H2O) is an excellent site for studying the source regions and propagation of microseisms since it is located far from shorelines and shallow water. During Leg 200 of the Ocean Drilling Program, the officers of the JOIDES Resolution took wind and wave measurements for comparison with double-frequency (DF) microseism data collected at nearby H2O. The DF microseism band can be divided into short-period and long-period bands, SPDF and LPDF, respectively. Comparison of the ship's weather log with the seismic data in the SPDF band from about 0.20 to 0.45 Hz shows a strong correlation of seismic amplitude with wind speed and direction, implying that the energy reaching the ocean floor is generated locally by ocean gravity waves. Nearshore land seismic stations see similar SPDF spectra, also generated locally by wind seas. At H2O, SPDF microseism amplitudes lag sustained changes in wind speed and direction by several hours, with the lag increasing with wave period. This lag may be associated with the time necessary for the development of opposing seas for DF microseism generation. Correlation of swell height above H2O with the LPDF band from 0.085 to 0.20 Hz is often poor, implying that a significant portion of this energy originates at distant locations. Correlation of the H2O seismic data with NOAA buoy data, with hindcast wave height data from the North Pacific, and with seismic data from mainland and island stations, defines likely source areas of the LPDF signals. Most of the LPDF energy at H2O appears to be generated by high-amplitude storm waves impacting long stretches of coastline nearly simultaneously, and the Hawaiian Islands appear to be a significant source of LPDF energy in the North Pacific when waves arrive from particular directions. The highest levels observed at mid-ocean site H2O occur in the SPDF band when two coincident nearby storm systems develop. Deep water, mid-ocean-generated DF microseisms are not observed at continental sites, indicating high attenuation of these signals. At near-coastal seismic stations, both SPDF and LPDF microseism levels are generally dominated by local generation at nearby shorelines.

2002
Bromirski, PD, Duennebier FK.  2002.  The near-coastal microseism spectrum: Spatial and temporal wave climate relationships. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 107   10.1029/2001jb000265   AbstractWebsite

[1] Comparison of the ambient noise data recorded at near-coastal ocean bottom and inland seismic stations at the Oregon coast with both offshore and nearshore buoy data shows that the near-coastal microseism spectrum results primarily from nearshore gravity wave activity. Low double-frequency (DF), microseism energy is observed at near-coastal locations when seas nearby are calm, even when very energetic seas are present at buoys 500 km offshore. At wave periods >8 s, shore reflection is the dominant source of opposing wave components for near-coastal DF microseism generation, with the variation of DF microseism levels poorly correlated with local wind speed. Near-coastal ocean bottom DF levels are consistently similar to20 dB higher than nearby DF levels on land, suggesting that Rayleigh/Stoneley waves with much of the mode energy propagating in the water column dominate the near-coastal ocean bottom microseism spectrum. Monitoring the southward propagation of swell from an extreme storm concentrated at the Oregon coast shows that near-coastal DF microseism levels are dominated by wave activity at the shoreline closest to the seismic station. Microseism attenuation estimates between on-land near-coastal stations and seismic stations similar to150 km inland indicate a zone of higher attenuation along the California coast between San Francisco and the Oregon border.

2001
Bromirski, PD.  2001.  Vibrations from the "Perfect Storm". Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems. 2:art.no.-2000GC000119.   10.1029/2000GC000119   AbstractWebsite

Microseismic vibrations during the famous October 1991 "Perfect Storm" were observed at seismic stations across North America. The extreme wave conditions during this storm, in conjunction with the occurrence of Hurricane Grace to the south, are ideal for studying where such vibrations originate and their inland propagation. High-amplitude primary and double-frequency (DF) microseisms were observed at broadband seismic station HRV in eastern Massachusetts. Similar spectral variation observed at seismic station ANMO at Albuquerque, New Mexico, shows transcontinental propagation of vibrations from the Perfect Storm. Cross correlation between wave spectra from widely separated buoy measurements and corresponding DF microseism spectra at HRV give high-correlation coefficients, R-2, from the New England coast to Cape Hatteras. Contours of peak R-2 scaled by the magnitude of the lag at the peak, together with similarities between wave and microseism spectral variation, imply that the dominant source area of DF microseisms during the Perfect Storm is near the southern Massachusetts coast, not in the open ocean where the highest waves occurred.