|SMILE mooring diagram|
Submesoscale Mixed-Layer Dynamics: Isolating the Sub- and Super-inertial
Eric Kunze1, James B. Girton2, John Mickett2 and Tom Farrar3
1NorthWest Research Associates, Redmond, WA
2Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
3Woods Hole Oceanographic Institutions, Woods Hole, MA
The ocean mixed-layer is both conduit and barrier for exchange of momentum, heat and gases between the atmosphere and ocean. Recent modeling has revealed a host of competing submesoscale mixed-layer processes which can either promote or inhibit air-sea exchange. These processes are an observational challenge because of the need for unaliased temporal and lateral resolution, as well as sufficient duration to establish persistent mechanisms.
We plan to improve understanding of 1–10 km scale lateral
processes in 3-D
mixed-layer dynamics with a 28-day experiment in the North
Front, a region of above-average atmospheric forcing, typical
mesoscale advection and straining, and typical submesoscale
maximizing the likelihood of finding significant signals.
surveys, profiling float array deployments (16–20 floats measuring T,
S, horizontal velocity
microstructure) and a drifting air-sea flux platform will sample
upper-ocean’s response to winter storm forcing in the
presence of the
mixed-layer fronts that characterize the central ocean gyres.
The arrays will
profile in sync every 30–40 minutes to
aliasing, cycling between the surface and 100–150 m depth (below the transition layer). During and between
deployments, the region
will be surveyed repeatedly with (i) the SWIMS towyo body and
shipboard ADCP to
provide larger-scale context and (ii) a multi-depth flow-through
and salinity system to resolve smaller horizontal scales in the
upper 2–5 m.
The WHOI contribution to this project is to
deploy a drifting surface flux buoy with subsurface drag elements
intended to keep the buoy with the array of floats.