Campus Map

Madison Smith

Research Assistant




2000-present and while at APL-UW

Wave attenuation through an arctic marginal ice zone on 12 October 2015. 1. Measurement of wave spectra and ice features from Sentinel 1A

Stopa, J.E., F. Ardhuin, J. Thomson, M.M. Smith, A. Kohout, M. Doble, and P. Wadhams, "Wave attenuation through an arctic marginal ice zone on 12 October 2015. 1. Measurement of wave spectra and ice features from Sentinel 1A," J. Geophys. Res., EOR, doi:10.1029/2018JC013791, 2018.

More Info

30 Apr 2018

A storm with significant wave heights exceeding 4 m occurred in the Beaufort Sea on 11–13 October 2015. The waves and ice were captured on 12 October by the Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) on board Sentinel‐1A, with Interferometric Wide swath images covering 400 x 1,100 km at 10 m resolution. This data set allows the estimation of wave spectra across the marginal ice zone (MIZ) every 5 km, over 400 km of sea ice. Since ice attenuates waves with wavelengths shorter than 50 m in a few kilometers, the longer waves are clearly imaged by SAR in sea ice. Obtaining wave spectra from the image requires a careful estimation of the blurring effect produced by unresolved wavelengths in the azimuthal direction. Using in situ wave buoy measurements as reference, we establish that this azimuth cutoff can be estimated in mixed ocean‐ice conditions. Wave spectra could not be estimated where ice features such as leads contribute to a large fraction of the radar backscatter variance. The resulting wave height map exhibits a steep decay in the first 100 km of ice, with a transition into a weaker decay further away. This unique wave decay pattern transitions where large‐scale ice features such as leads become visible. As in situ ice information is limited, it is not known whether the decay is caused by a difference in ice properties or a wave dissipation mechanism. The implications of the observed wave patterns are discussed in the context of other observations.

Quantifying growth of pancake sea ice floes using images from drifting buoys

Roach, L., M. Smith, and S. Dean, "Quantifying growth of pancake sea ice floes using images from drifting buoys," J. Geophys. Res., 123, 2851-2866, doi:10.1002/2017JC013693, 2017.

More Info

1 Apr 2018

New sea ice in the polar regions often begins as small pancake floes in autumn and winter that grow laterally and weld together into larger floes. However, conditions in polar oceans during freeze‐up are harsh, rendering in‐situ observations of small‐scale sea ice growth processes difficult and infrequent. Here, we apply image processing techniques to images obtained by drifting wave buoys (SWIFTs) deployed in the autumn Arctic Ocean to quantify these processes in situ for the first time. Small pancake ice floes were observed to form and grow gradually in freezing, low‐wave conditions. We find that pancake floe diameters are limited by the wave field, such that floe diameter is proportional to wavelength and amplitude over time. Floe welding correlates well with sea ice concentration, and the observations can be used to estimate a key model parameter for floe size evolution. There is some agreement between observed lateral growth rates and those predicted using a theoretical model based on heat flux balance, but the model lateral growth rates are too conservative in these conditions. These results will be used to inform description of lateral floe growth and floe welding in new models that evolve sea ice floe size distribution.

Episodic reversal of autumn ice advance caused by release of ocean heat in the Beaufort Sea

Smith, M., S. Stammerjohn, O. Persson, L. Rainville, G. Liu, W. Perrie, R. Robertson, J. Jackson, and J. Thomson, "Episodic reversal of autumn ice advance caused by release of ocean heat in the Beaufort Sea," J. Geophys. Res., EOR, doi:10.1002/2018JC013764, 2018.

More Info

12 Mar 2018

High‐resolution measurements of the air‐ice‐ocean system during an October 2015 event in the Beaufort Sea demonstrate how stored ocean heat can be released to temporarily reverse seasonal ice advance. Strong on‐ice winds over a vast fetch caused mixing and release of heat from the upper ocean. This heat was sufficient to melt large areas of thin, newly formed pancake ice; an average of 10 MJ/m2 was lost from the upper ocean in the study area, resulting in ~3–5 cm pancake sea ice melt. Heat and salt budgets create a consistent picture of the evolving air‐ice‐ocean system during this event, in both a fixed and ice‐following (Lagrangian) reference frame. The heat lost from the upper ocean is large compared with prior observations of ocean heat flux under thick, multi‐year Arctic sea ice. In contrast to prior studies, where almost all heat lost goes into ice melt, a significant portion of the ocean heat released in this event goes directly to the atmosphere, while the remainder (~30–40%) goes into melting sea ice. The magnitude of ocean mixing during this event may have been enhanced by large surface waves, reaching nearly 5 m at the peak, which are becoming increasingly common in the autumn Arctic Ocean. The wave effects are explored by comparing the air‐ice‐ocean evolution observed at short and long fetches, and a common scaling for Langmuir turbulence. After the event, the ocean mixed layer was deeper and cooler, and autumn ice formation resumed.

More Publications

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