Fine Elizabeth C.

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Elizabeth C.

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  • Article
    Microstructure mixing observations and finescale parameterizations in the Beaufort Sea
    (American Meteorological Society, 2020-12-22) Fine, Elizabeth C. ; Alford, Matthew H. ; MacKinnon, Jennifer A. ; Mickett, John B.
    In the Beaufort Sea in September of 2015, concurrent mooring and microstructure observations were used to assess dissipation rates in the vicinity of 72°35′N, 145°1′W. Microstructure measurements from a free-falling profiler survey showed very low [O(10−10) W kg−1] turbulent kinetic energy dissipation rates ε. A finescale parameterization based on both shear and strain measurements was applied to estimate the ratio of shear to strain Rω and ε at the mooring location, and a strain-based parameterization was applied to the microstructure survey (which occurred approximately 100 km away from the mooring site) for direct comparison with microstructure results. The finescale parameterization worked well, with discrepancies ranging from a factor of 1–2.5 depending on depth. The largest discrepancies occurred at depths with high shear. Mean Rω was 17, and Rω showed high variability with values ranging from 3 to 50 over 8 days. Observed ε was slightly elevated (factor of 2–3 compared with a later survey of 11 profiles taken over 3 h) from 25 to 125 m following a wind event which occurred at the beginning of the mooring deployment, reaching a maximum of ε= 6 × 10−10 W kg−1 at 30-m depth. Velocity signals associated with near-inertial waves (NIWs) were observed at depths greater than 200 m, where the Atlantic Water mass represents a reservoir of oceanic heat. However, no evidence of elevated ε or heat fluxes was observed in association with NIWs at these depths in either the microstructure survey or the finescale parameterization estimates.
  • Article
    Whither the Chukchi Slope Current?
    (American Meteorological Society, 2020-06-01) Boury, Samuel ; Pickart, Robert S. ; Odier, Philippe ; Lin, Peigen ; Li, Min ; Fine, Elizabeth C. ; Simmons, Harper L. ; MacKinnon, Jennifer A. ; Peacock, Thomas
    Recent measurements and modeling indicate that roughly half of the Pacific-origin water exiting the Chukchi Sea shelf through Barrow Canyon forms a westward-flowing current known as the Chukchi Slope Current (CSC), yet the trajectory and fate of this current is presently unknown. In this study, through the combined use of shipboard velocity data and information from five profiling floats deployed as quasi-Lagrangian particles, we delve further into the trajectory and the fate of the CSC. During the period of observation, from early September to early October 2018, the CSC progressed far to the north into the Chukchi Borderland. The northward excursion is believed to result from the current negotiating Hanna Canyon on the Chukchi slope, consistent with potential vorticity dynamics. The volume transport of the CSC, calculated using a set of shipboard transects, decreased from approximately 2 Sv (1 Sv ≡ 106 m3 s−1) to near zero over a period of 4 days. This variation can be explained by a concomitant change in the wind stress curl over the Chukchi shelf from positive to negative. After turning northward, the CSC was disrupted and four of the five floats veered offshore, with one of the floats permanently leaving the current. It is hypothesized that the observed disruption was due to an anticyclonic eddy interacting with the CSC, which has been observed previously. These results demonstrate that, at times, the CSC can get entrained into the Beaufort Gyre.
  • Article
    Estimating dissipation rates associated with double diffusion
    (American Geophysical Union, 2021-06-26) Middleton, Leo ; Fine, Elizabeth C. ; MacKinnon, Jennifer A. ; Alford, Matthew H. ; Taylor, John R.
    Double diffusion refers to a variety of turbulent processes in which potential energy is released into kinetic energy, made possible in the ocean by the difference in molecular diffusivities between salinity and temperature. Here, we present a new method for estimating the kinetic energy dissipation rates forced by double-diffusive convection using temperature and salinity data alone. The method estimates the up-gradient diapycnal buoyancy flux associated with double diffusion, which is hypothesized to balance the dissipation rate. To calculate the temperature and salinity gradients on small scales we apply a canonical scaling for compensated thermohaline variance (or ‘spice’) on sub-measurement scales with a fixed buoyancy gradient. Our predicted dissipation rates compare favorably with microstructure measurements collected in the Chukchi Sea. Fine et al. (2018),, showed that dissipation rates provide good estimates for heat fluxes in this region. Finally, we show the method maintains predictive skill when applied to a sub-sampling of the Conductivity, Temperature, Depth (CTD) data.
  • Article
    A tale of two spicy seas
    (The Oceanography Society, 2016-06) MacKinnon, Jennifer A. ; Nash, Jonathan D. ; Alford, Matthew H. ; Lucas, Andrew J. ; Mickett, John B. ; Shroyer, Emily L. ; Waterhouse, Amy F. ; Tandon, Amit ; Sengupta, Debasis ; Mahadevan, Amala ; Ravichandran, M. ; Pinkel, Robert ; Rudnick, Daniel L. ; Whalen, Caitlin B. ; Alberty, Marion S. ; Lekha, J. Sree ; Fine, Elizabeth C. ; Chaudhuri, Dipayan ; Wagner, Gregory L.
    Upper-ocean turbulent heat fluxes in the Bay of Bengal and the Arctic Ocean drive regional monsoons and sea ice melt, respectively, important issues of societal interest. In both cases, accurate prediction of these heat transports depends on proper representation of the small-scale structure of vertical stratification, which in turn is created by a host of complex submesoscale processes. Though half a world apart and having dramatically different temperatures, there are surprising similarities between the two: both have (1) very fresh surface layers that are largely decoupled from the ocean below by a sharp halocline barrier, (2) evidence of interleaving lateral and vertical gradients that set upper-ocean stratification, and (3) vertical turbulent heat fluxes within the upper ocean that respond sensitively to these structures. However, there are clear differences in each ocean’s horizontal scales of variability, suggesting that despite similar background states, the sharpening and evolution of mesoscale gradients at convergence zones plays out quite differently. Here, we conduct a qualitative and statistical comparison of these two seas, with the goal of bringing to light fundamental underlying dynamics that will hopefully improve the accuracy of forecast models in both parts of the world.
  • Article
    Observations of double diffusive staircase edges in the Arctic Ocean
    (American Geophysical Union, 2022-10-12) Boury, Samuel ; Supekar, Rohit ; Fine, Elizabeth C. ; Musgrave, Ruth C. ; Mickett, John B. ; Voet, Gunnar ; Odier, Philippe ; Peacock, Thomas ; MacKinnon, Jennifer A. ; Alford, Matthew H.
    Recent observational studies have provided detailed descriptions of double‐diffusive staircases in the Beaufort Sea, characterized by well‐mixed intrusions between high‐gradient interfaces. These structures result from double‐diffusive convection, occurring when cooler fresh water lies atop the warmer saltier Atlantic water layer. In the present study, we investigate the spatial structure of such layers, by analyzing combined high resolution data from a subsurface mooring, a ship‐towed profiling conductivity‐temperature‐depth/ADCP package, and a free‐falling microstructure profiler. At large scale, the modular microstructure profiler data suggest a horizontal “ragged edge” of the layered water masses near the basin boundary. At smaller scales, the mooring data indicate that, in the 300–400 m depth interval, regions of layers abruptly appear. This laterally sharp (of the order of 100 m) interface is advected southwards, as shown by the shallow water integrated mapping system survey conducted nearby. Neither disruption nor formation of layers is directly observed in our data, and we thus interpret our observations as the stable and possibly recent abutment of a layered and an unlayered water masses, now globally advected southwards by a large scale flow.
  • Article
    Turbulent mixing in a changing Arctic Ocean
    (Oceanography Society, 2022-03-28) Rippeth, Tom P. ; Fine, Elizabeth C.
    Historically, the Arctic Ocean has been considered an ocean of low variability and weak turbulent mixing. However, the decline in seasonal sea ice cover over the past couple of decades has led to increased coupling between the atmosphere and the ocean, with potential enhancement of turbulent mixing. Here, we review studies identifying energy sources and pathways that lead to turbulent mixing in an increasingly ice-free Arctic Ocean. We find that the evolution of wind-generated, near-inertial oscillations is highly sensitive to the seasonal sea ice cycle, but the response varies greatly between the continental shelves and the abyssal ocean and between the eastern and western ocean basins. There is growing interest in the role of tides and continental shelf waves in driving mixing over sloping topography. Both dissipate through the development of unsteady lee waves. The role eddies play in transporting shelf water into the basins and in supporting mixing has become more apparent as technological advances have permitted higher resolution observations of sea ice retreat. The importance of the dissipation of unsteady lee waves and of eddies in driving mixing highlights the need for parameterizations of these phenomena in regional ocean models and climate simulations.
  • Article
    Decadal observations of internal wave energy, shear, and mixing in the western Arctic Ocean
    (American Geophysical Union, 2022-04-12) Fine, Elizabeth C. ; Cole, Sylvia T.
    As Arctic sea ice declines, wind energy has increasing access to the upper ocean, with potential consequences for ocean mixing, stratification, and turbulent heat fluxes. Here, we investigate the relationships between internal wave energy, turbulent dissipation, and ice concentration and draft using mooring data collected in the Beaufort Sea during 2003–2018. We focus on the 50–300 m depth range, using velocity and CTD records to estimate near-inertial shear and energy, a finescale parameterization to infer turbulent dissipation rates, and ice draft observations to characterize the ice cover. All quantities varied widely on monthly and interannual timescales. Seasonally, near-inertial energy increased when ice concentration and ice draft were low, but shear and dissipation did not. We show that this apparent contradiction occurred due to the vertical scales of internal wave energy, with open water associated with larger vertical scales. These larger vertical scale motions are associated with less shear, and tend to result in less dissipation. This relationship led to a seasonality in the correlation between shear and energy. This correlation was largest in the spring beneath full ice cover and smallest in the summer and fall when the ice had deteriorated. When considering interannually averaged properties, the year-to-year variability and the short ice-free season currently obscure any potential trend. Implications for the future seasonal and interannual evolution of the Arctic Ocean and sea ice cover are discussed.
  • Article
    Double diffusion, shear instabilities, and heat impacts of a pacific summer water intrusion in the Beaufort Sea
    (American Meteorological Society, 2022-02-01) Fine, Elizabeth C. ; MacKinnon, Jennifer A. ; Alford, Matthew H. ; Middleton, Leo ; Taylor, John R. ; Mickett, John B. ; Cole, Sylvia T. ; Couto, Nicole ; Le Boyer, Arnaud ; Peacock, Thomas
    Pacific Summer Water eddies and intrusions transport heat and salt from boundary regions into the western Arctic basin. Here we examine concurrent effects of lateral stirring and vertical mixing using microstructure data collected within a Pacific Summer Water intrusion with a length scale of ∼20 km. This intrusion was characterized by complex thermohaline structure in which warm Pacific Summer Water interleaved in alternating layers of O(1) m thickness with cooler water, due to lateral stirring and intrusive processes. Along interfaces between warm/salty and cold/freshwater masses, the density ratio was favorable to double-diffusive processes. The rate of dissipation of turbulent kinetic energy (ε) was elevated along the interleaving surfaces, with values up to 3 × 10−8 W kg−1 compared to background ε of less than 10−9 W kg−1. Based on the distribution of ε as a function of density ratio Rρ, we conclude that double-diffusive convection is largely responsible for the elevated ε observed over the survey. The lateral processes that created the layered thermohaline structure resulted in vertical thermohaline gradients susceptible to double-diffusive convection, resulting in upward vertical heat fluxes. Bulk vertical heat fluxes above the intrusion are estimated in the range of 0.2–1 W m−2, with the localized flux above the uppermost warm layer elevated to 2–10 W m−2. Lateral fluxes are much larger, estimated between 1000 and 5000 W m−2, and set an overall decay rate for the intrusion of 1–5 years.
  • Article
    A warm jet in a cold ocean
    (Nature Research, 2021-04-23) MacKinnon, Jennifer A. ; Simmons, Harper L. ; Hargrove, John ; Thomson, Jim ; Peacock, Thomas ; Alford, Matthew H. ; Barton, Benjamin I. ; Boury, Samuel ; Brenner, Samuel D. ; Couto, Nicole ; Danielson, Seth L. ; Fine, Elizabeth C. ; Graber, Hans C. ; Guthrie, John D. ; Hopkins, Joanne E. ; Jayne, Steven R. ; Jeon, Chanhyung ; Klenz, Thilo ; Lee, Craig M. ; Lenn, Yueng-Djern ; Lucas, Andrew J. ; Lund, Björn ; Mahaffey, Claire ; Norman, Louisa ; Rainville, Luc ; Smith, Madison M. ; Thomas, Leif N. ; Torres-Valdes, Sinhue ; Wood, Kevin R.
    Unprecedented quantities of heat are entering the Pacific sector of the Arctic Ocean through Bering Strait, particularly during summer months. Though some heat is lost to the atmosphere during autumn cooling, a significant fraction of the incoming warm, salty water subducts (dives beneath) below a cooler fresher layer of near-surface water, subsequently extending hundreds of kilometers into the Beaufort Gyre. Upward turbulent mixing of these sub-surface pockets of heat is likely accelerating sea ice melt in the region. This Pacific-origin water brings both heat and unique biogeochemical properties, contributing to a changing Arctic ecosystem. However, our ability to understand or forecast the role of this incoming water mass has been hampered by lack of understanding of the physical processes controlling subduction and evolution of this this warm water. Crucially, the processes seen here occur at small horizontal scales not resolved by regional forecast models or climate simulations; new parameterizations must be developed that accurately represent the physics. Here we present novel high resolution observations showing the detailed process of subduction and initial evolution of warm Pacific-origin water in the southern Beaufort Gyre.
  • Article
    A Possible hysteresis in the Arctic Ocean due to release of subsurface heat during sea ice retreat
    (American Meteorological Society, 2023-05-01) Beer, Emma ; Eisenman, Ian ; Wagner, Till J. W. ; Fine, Elizabeth C.
    The Arctic Ocean is characterized by an ice-covered layer of cold and relatively fresh water above layers of warmer and saltier water. It is estimated that enough heat is stored in these deeper layers to melt all the Arctic sea ice many times over, but they are isolated from the surface by a stable halocline. Current vertical mixing rates across the Arctic Ocean halocline are small, due in part to sea ice reducing wind–ocean momentum transfer and damping internal waves. However, recent observational studies have argued that sea ice retreat results in enhanced mixing. This could create a positive feedback whereby increased vertical mixing due to sea ice retreat causes the previously isolated subsurface heat to melt more sea ice. Here, we use an idealized climate model to investigate the impacts of such a feedback. We find that an abrupt “tipping point” can occur under global warming, with an associated hysteresis window bounded by saddle-node bifurcations. We show that the presence and magnitude of the hysteresis are sensitive to the choice of model parameters, and the hysteresis occurs for only a limited range of parameters. During the critical transition at the bifurcation point, we find that only a small percentage of the heat stored in the deep layer is released, although this is still enough to lead to substantial sea ice melt. Furthermore, no clear relationship is apparent between this change in heat storage and the level of hysteresis when the parameters are varied.
  • Dataset
    Near-full-depth profile observations of water properties and currents at four deep-ocean sites
    (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 2023-07-17) Toole, John M. ; Musgrave, Ruth C. ; Fine, Elizabeth C. ; Steinberg, Jacob M. ; Krishfield, Richard A.
    The Ocean Observatory Initiative (OOI) funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation established four deep ocean observing sites between summer 2013 and spring 2015: Argentine Basin (42˚ 58.9’ S, 42˚ 29.9’ W, water depth 5200 m), Southern Ocean (54 ˚ 28.1’ S, 89˚ 22.1’ W, 4800 m), Station Papa (50˚ 4.2’ N, 144˚ 47.9 W, 4219 m), and Irminger Sea (59˚ 58.5’ N, 39 ˚ 28.9’ W, 2800 m). Each site was instrumented with four closely-spaced moorings of various design supporting a variety of sensors. As no single OOI mooring in these arrays provides temperature, salinity and horizontal velocity information over the full water column, observations from two or more moorings were combined to produce vertical profiles at ½-dbar vertical resolution of sea water temperature, salinity, east and north velocity and vertical displacement. These profile data are reported here.
  • Article
    Arctic ice-ocean interactions in an 8-to-2 kilometer resolution global model
    (Elsevier, 2023-06-12) Fine, Elizabeth C. ; McClean, Julie L. ; Ivanova, Detelina P. ; Craig, Anthony P. ; Wallcraft, Alan J. ; Chassignet, Eric P. ; Hunke, Elizabeth C.
    In the last decades, the Arctic climate has changed dramatically, with the loss of multiyear sea ice one of the clearest consequences. These changes have occurred on relatively rapid timescales, and both accurate short-term Arctic prediction (e.g., 10 days to three months) and climate projection of future Arctic scenarios present ongoing challenges. Here we describe a representation of the Arctic ocean and sea ice in a ultrahigh resolution simulation in which the horizontal grid mesh reduces from 8 km at the equator to 2 km at the poles (UH8to2) for the years 2017–2020. We find the simulation reproduces observed distributions of seasonal sea-ice thickness and concentration realistically, although concentration is biased low in the spring and summer and low biases in thickness are found in the central and eastern basins in the fall. Volume, fresh water, and heat transports through key passages are realistic, lying within observationally determined ranges. Climatological comparisons reveal that the UH8to2 Atlantic Water is shallower, warmer, and saltier than the World Ocean Atlas 2018 climatology for 2005–2017 in the eastern basin. Our analysis suggests that these biases, combined with a lack of stratification in the upper 100 m of the simulated ocean, contribute to the winter biases in modeled sea ice thickness. This relationship between biases in the sea ice and ocean points to a potential positive feedback within the model, illuminating challenges for long term model predictive power in a changing Arctic climate.