Silvano Alessandro

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  • Article
    Icebergs and sea ice detected with inverted echo sounders
    (American Meteorological Society, 2015-05) Andres, Magdalena ; Silvano, Alessandro ; Straneo, Fiamma ; Watts, D. Randolph
    A 1-yr experiment using a pressure-sensor-equipped inverted echo sounder (PIES) was conducted in Sermilik Fjord in southeastern Greenland (66°N, 38°E) from August 2011 to September 2012. Based on these high-latitude data, the interpretation of PIESs’ acoustic travel-time records from regions that are periodically ice covered were refined. In addition, new methods using PIESs for detecting icebergs and sea ice and for estimating iceberg drafts and drift speeds were developed and tested. During winter months, the PIES in Sermilik Fjord logged about 300 iceberg detections and recorded a 2-week period in early March of land-fast ice cover over the instrument site, consistent with satellite synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery. The deepest icebergs in the fjord were found to have keel depths greater than approximately 350 m. Average and maximum iceberg speeds were approximately 0.2 and 0.5 m s−1, respectively. The maximum tidal range at the site was ±1.8 m and during neap tides the range was ±0.3 m, as shown by the PIES’s pressure record.
  • Article
    Sea ice meltwater and Circumpolar Deep Water drive contrasting productivity in three Antarctic polynyas
    (American Geophysical Union, 2019-03-28) Moreau, Sebastien ; Lannuzel, Delphine ; Janssens, Julie ; Arroyo, Mar C. ; Corkill, Matthew ; Cougnon, Eva ; Genovese, Cristina ; Legresy, Benoit ; Lenton, Andrew ; Puigcorbé, Viena ; Ratnarajah, Lavenia ; Rintoul, Stephen R. ; Roca-Martí, Montserrat ; Rosenberg, Mark ; Shadwick, Elizabeth H. ; Silvano, Alessandro ; Strutton, Peter G. ; Tilbrook, Bronte
    In the Southern Ocean, polynyas exhibit enhanced rates of primary productivity and represent large seasonal sinks for atmospheric CO2. Three contrasting east Antarctic polynyas were visited in late December to early January 2017: the Dalton, Mertz, and Ninnis polynyas. In the Mertz and Ninnis polynyas, phytoplankton biomass (average of 322 and 354 mg chlorophyll a (Chl a)/m2, respectively) and net community production (5.3 and 4.6 mol C/m2, respectively) were approximately 3 times those measured in the Dalton polynya (average of 122 mg Chl a/m2 and 1.8 mol C/m2). Phytoplankton communities also differed between the polynyas. Diatoms were thriving in the Mertz and Ninnis polynyas but not in the Dalton polynya, where Phaeocystis antarctica dominated. These strong regional differences were explored using physiological, biological, and physical parameters. The most likely drivers of the observed higher productivity in the Mertz and Ninnis were the relatively shallow inflow of iron‐rich modified Circumpolar Deep Water onto the shelf as well as a very large sea ice meltwater contribution. The productivity contrast between the three polynyas could not be explained by (1) the input of glacial meltwater, (2) the presence of Ice Shelf Water, or (3) stratification of the mixed layer. Our results show that physical drivers regulate the productivity of polynyas, suggesting that the response of biological productivity and carbon export to future change will vary among polynyas.