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Madison Smith

Research Assistant




2000-present and while at APL-UW

Ocean surface turbulence in newly formed marginal ice zones

Smith, M., and J. Thomson, "Ocean surface turbulence in newly formed marginal ice zones," J. Geophys. Res., EOR, doi:10.1029/2018JC014405, 2019.

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1 Feb 2019

Near‐surface turbulent kinetic energy dissipation rates are altered by the presence of sea ice in the marginal ice zone, with significant implications for exchanges at the air‐ice‐ocean interface. Observations spanning a range of conditions are used to parameterize dissipation rates in marginal ice zones with relatively thin, newly formed ice, and two regimes are identified. In both regimes, the turbulent dissipation rates are matched to the turbulent input rate, which is formulated as the surface stress acting on roughness elements moving at an effective transfer velocity. In marginal ice zones with waves, the short waves are the roughness elements, and the phase speed of these waves is the effective transfer velocity. The wave amplitudes are attenuated by the ice, and thus, the size of the roughness elements is reduced; this is parameterized as a reduction in the effective transfer velocity. When waves are sufficiently small, the ice floes are the roughness elements, and the relative velocity between the sea ice and the ocean is the effective transfer velocity. A scaling is introduced to determine the appropriate transfer velocity in a marginal ice zone based on wave height, ice thickness and concentration, and ice‐ocean shear. The results suggest that turbulence underneath new sea ice is mostly related to the wind forcing and that marginal ice zones generally have less turbulence than the open ocean under similar wind forcing.

Overview of the Arctic Sea State and Boundary Layer Physics Program

Thomson, J., and 32 others, including L. Rainville, and M. Smith, "Overview of the Arctic Sea State and Boundary Layer Physics Program," J. Geophys. Res., 123, 8674-8687, doi:10.1002/2018JC013766, 2018.

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1 Dec 2018

A large collaborative program has studied the coupled air‐ice‐ocean‐wave processes occurring in the Arctic during the autumn ice advance. The program included a field campaign in the western Arctic during the autumn of 2015, with in situ data collection and both aerial and satellite remote sensing. Many of the analyses have focused on using and improving forecast models. Summarizing and synthesizing the results from a series of separate papers, the overall view is of an Arctic shifting to a more seasonal system. The dramatic increase in open water extent and duration in the autumn means that large surface waves and significant surface heat fluxes are now common. When refreezing finally does occur, it is a highly variable process in space and time. Wind and wave events drive episodic advances and retreats of the ice edge, with associated variations in sea ice formation types (e.g., pancakes, nilas). This variability becomes imprinted on the winter ice cover, which in turn affects the melt season the following year.

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., 123, 3164-3185, doi:10.1002/2018JC013764, 2018.

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1 May 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.

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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