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Cecilia Peralta Ferriz

Senior Oceanographer





Department Affiliation

Polar Science Center


B.S. Oceanography, Universidad Autonoma de Baja California, 2004

M.S. Physical Oceanography, University of Washington, 2008

Ph.D. Physical Oceanography, University of Washington, 2012


2000-present and while at APL-UW

Sea state bias of ICESat in the subarctic seas

Morison, J., R. Kwok, S. Dickinson, D. Morison, C. Peralta-Ferriz, and R. Andersen, "Sea state bias of ICESat in the subarctic seas," IEEE Geosci. Remote Sens. Lett., 15, 1144-1148, doi:10.1109/LGRS.2018.2834362, 2018.

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1 Aug 2018

The fine spatial resolution of laser altimeters makes them potentially valuable to oceanography studying features at mesoscale, close to land, and in the marginal ice zone. To fulfill this promise, we must understand laser sea state bias (SSB). SSB occurs in the measurement of sea surface height in the presence of waves when the altimeter observations are preferentially influenced by particular parts (e.g., wave troughs) of the wave-covered surface. Radar altimeters have received considerable attention relating radar SSB to wave properties and wind speed. Comparatively, little attention has been devoted to the SSB of laser altimeters, and the studies of laser SSB which have been done have led to indeterminate or ambiguous results even as to sign. Here, we find that to make changes in satellite dynamic ocean topography (DOT) from the Ice, Clouds, and Land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) period, 2004–2009, to the CryoSat-2 period, 2011–2015, consistent with hydrography plus ocean bottom pressure in the subarctic Greenland and Norwegian seas, we need to correct the ICESat DOT for SSB. On average, ICESat SSB is –18% of significant wave height in excess of 1.7 m.

A meteoric water budget for the Arctic Ocean

Alkire, M.B., J. Morison, A. Schweiger, J. Zhang, M. Steele, C. Peralta-Ferriz, and S. Dickinson, "A meteoric water budget for the Arctic Ocean," J. Geophys. Res., 122, 10,020-10,041, doi:10.1002/2017JC012807, 2017.

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1 Dec 2017

A budget of meteoric water (MW = river runoff, net precipitation minus evaporation, and glacial meltwater) over four regions of the Arctic Ocean is constructed using a simple box model, regional precipitation-evaporation estimates from reanalysis data sets, and estimates of import and export fluxes derived from the literature with a focus on the 2003–2008 period. The budget indicates an approximate/slightly positive balance between MW imports and exports (i.e., no change in storage); thus, the observed total freshwater increase observed during this time period likely resulted primarily from changes in non-MW freshwater components (i.e., increases in sea ice melt or Pacific water and/or a decrease in ice export). Further, our analysis indicates that the MW increase observed in the Canada Basin resulted from a spatial redistribution of MW over the Arctic Ocean. Mean residence times for MW were estimated for the Western Arctic (5–7 years), Eastern Arctic (3–4 years), and Lincoln Sea (1–2 years). The MW content over the Siberian shelves was estimated (~14,000 km3) based on a residence time of 3.5 years. The MW content over the entire Arctic Ocean was estimated to be ≥ 44,000 km3. The MW export through Fram Strait consisted mostly of water from the Eastern Arctic (3237 ± 1370 km3 yr-1) whereas the export through the Canadian Archipelago was nearly equally derived from both the Western Arctic (1182 ± 534 km3 yr-1) and Lincoln Sea (972 ± 391 km3 yr-1).

The dominant role of the East Siberian Sea in driving the oceanic flow through the Bering Strait — Conclusions from GRACE ocean mass satellite data and in situ mooring observations between 2002 and 2016

Peralta-Ferriz, C., and R.A. Woodgate, "The dominant role of the East Siberian Sea in driving the oceanic flow through the Bering Strait — Conclusions from GRACE ocean mass satellite data and in situ mooring observations between 2002 and 2016," Geophys. Res. Lett., 44, 11,472-11,481, doi:10.1002/2017GL075179, 2017.

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28 Nov 2017

It is typically stated that the Pacific-to-Arctic oceanic flow through the Bering Strait (important for Arctic heat, freshwater, and nutrient budgets) is driven by local wind and a (poorly defined) far-field "pressure head" forcing, related to sea surface height differences between the Pacific and the Arctic. Using monthly, Arctic-wide, ocean bottom pressure satellite data and in situ mooring data from the Bering Strait from 2002 to 2016, we discover the spatial structure of this pressure head forcing, finding that the Bering Strait throughflow variability is dominantly driven from the Arctic, specifically by sea level change in the East Siberian Sea (ESS), in turn related to westward winds along the Arctic coasts. In the (comparatively calm) summer, this explains approximately two thirds of the Bering Strait variability. In winter, local wind variability dominates the total flow, but the pressure head term, while still correlated with the ESS-dominated sea level pattern, is now more strongly related to Bering Sea Shelf sea level variability.

Acoustics Air-Sea Interaction & Remote Sensing Center for Environmental & Information Systems Center for Industrial & Medical Ultrasound Electronic & Photonic Systems Ocean Engineering Ocean Physics Polar Science Center