Peacock Thomas

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  • 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
    Search and rescue at sea aided by hidden flow structures
    (Nature Communications, 2020-05-26) Serra, Mattia ; Sathe, Pratik ; Rypina, Irina I. ; Kirincich, Anthony R. ; Ross, Shane D. ; Lermusiaux, Pierre F. J. ; Allen, Arthur ; Peacock, Thomas ; Haller, George
    Every year, hundreds of people die at sea because of vessel and airplane accidents. A key challenge in reducing the number of these fatalities is to make Search and Rescue (SAR) algorithms more efficient. Here, we address this challenge by uncovering hidden TRansient Attracting Profiles (TRAPs) in ocean-surface velocity data. Computable from a single velocity-field snapshot, TRAPs act as short-term attractors for all floating objects. In three different ocean field experiments, we show that TRAPs computed from measured as well as modeled velocities attract deployed drifters and manikins emulating people fallen in the water. TRAPs, which remain hidden to prior flow diagnostics, thus provide critical information for hazard responses, such as SAR and oil spill containment, and hence have the potential to save lives and limit environmental disasters.
  • Preprint
    The formation and fate of internal waves in the South China Sea
    ( 2015-03) Alford, Matthew H. ; Peacock, Thomas ; MacKinnon, Jennifer A. ; Nash, Jonathan D. ; Buijsman, Maarten C. ; Centurioni, Luca R. ; Chao, Shenn-Yu ; Chang, Ming-Huei ; Farmer, David M. ; Fringer, Oliver B. ; Fu, Ke-Hsien ; Gallacher, Patrick C. ; Graber, Hans C. ; Helfrich, Karl R. ; Jachec, Steven M. ; Jackson, Christopher R. ; Klymak, Jody M. ; Ko, Dong S. ; Jan, Sen ; Johnston, T. M. Shaun ; Legg, Sonya ; Lee, I-Huan ; Lien, Ren-Chieh ; Mercier, Matthieu J. ; Moum, James N. ; Musgrave, Ruth C. ; Park, Jae-Hun ; Pickering, Andrew I. ; Pinkel, Robert ; Rainville, Luc ; Ramp, Steven R. ; Rudnick, Daniel L. ; Sarkar, Sutanu ; Scotti, Alberto ; Simmons, Harper L. ; St Laurent, Louis C. ; Venayagamoorthy, Subhas K. ; Wang, Yu-Huai ; Wang, Joe ; Yang, Yiing-Jang ; Paluszkiewicz, Theresa ; Tang, Tswen Yung
    Internal gravity waves, the subsurface analogue of the familiar surface gravity waves that break on beaches, are ubiquitous in the ocean. Because of their strong vertical and horizontal currents, and the turbulent mixing caused by their breaking, they impact a panoply of ocean processes, such as the supply of nutrients for photosynthesis1, sediment and pollutant transport2 and acoustic transmission3; they also pose hazards for manmade structures in the ocean4. Generated primarily by the wind and the tides, internal waves can travel thousands of kilometres from their sources before breaking5, posing severe challenges for their observation and their inclusion in numerical climate models, which are sensitive to their effects6-7. Over a decade of studies8-11 have targeted the South China Sea, where the oceans’ most powerful internal waves are generated in the Luzon Strait and steepen dramatically as they propagate west. Confusion has persisted regarding their generation mechanism, variability and energy budget, however, due to the lack of in-situ data from the Luzon Strait, where extreme flow conditions make measurements challenging. Here we employ new observations and numerical models to (i) show that the waves begin as sinusoidal disturbances rather than from sharp hydraulic phenomena, (ii) reveal the existence of >200-m-high breaking internal waves in the generation region that give rise to turbulence levels >10,000 times that in the open ocean, (iii) determine that the Kuroshio western boundary current significantly refracts the internal wave field emanating from the Luzon Strait, and (iv) demonstrate a factor-of-two agreement between modelled and observed energy fluxes that enables the first observationally-supported energy budget of the region. Together, these findings give a cradle-to-grave picture of internal waves on a basin scale, which will support further improvements of their representation in numerical climate predictions.
  • 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
    The generation of Rossby waves and wake eddies by small islands
    (Sears Foundation for Marine Research, 2018-03) Musgrave, Ruth C. ; Flierl, Glenn R. ; Peacock, Thomas
    The influence of small islands on zonal geostrophic currents is examined in a two-layer configuration. An analytic solution for steady quasigeostrophic flow is derived under the assumption of no upstream influence and is validated numerically in a time-dependent quasigeostrophic model. Under these conditions solutions are the sum of two eigenmodes, which are either arrested Rossby waves or evanescent depending on background flow conditions (layer speeds, stratification, and latitude). In contrast to homogeneous flows, arrested Rossby waves in two layers can occur even when the depth mean flow is westward and can be generated both to the east and west of the island. A third blocking mode may play a role in general, altering the meridional structure of the zonal flow upstream and downstream of the island. The influence of the quasigeostrophic modes on submesoscale island wake eddies is considered in a two-layer primitive equation model with no-slip boundary conditions at the island. Wake eddy formation is inhibited in the presence of an arrested Rossby wave, though the overall drag is similar.
  • Article
    On the predictability of sea surface height around Palau
    (American Meteorological Society, 2020-11-01) Andres, Magdalena ; Musgrave, Ruth C. ; Rudnick, Daniel L. ; Zeiden, Kristin L. ; Peacock, Thomas ; Park, Jae-Hun
    As part of the Flow Encountering Abrupt Topography (FLEAT) program, an array of pressure-sensor equipped inverted echo sounders (PIESs) was deployed north of Palau where the westward-flowing North Equatorial Current encounters the southern end of the Kyushu–Palau Ridge in the tropical North Pacific. Capitalizing on concurrent observations from satellite altimetry, FLEAT Spray gliders, and shipboard hydrography, the PIESs’ 10-month duration hourly bottom pressure p and round-trip acoustic travel time τ records are used to examine the magnitude and predictability of sea level and pycnocline depth changes and to track signal propagations through the array. Sea level and pycnocline depth are found to vary in response to a range of ocean processes, with their magnitude and predictability strongly process dependent. Signals characterized here comprise the barotropic tides, semidiurnal and diurnal internal tides, southeastward-propagating superinertial waves, westward-propagating mesoscale eddies, and a strong signature of sea level increase and pycnocline deepening associated with the region’s relaxation from El Niño to La Niña conditions. The presence of a broad band of superinertial waves just above the inertial frequency was unexpected and the FLEAT observations and output from a numerical model suggest that these waves detected near Palau are forced by remote winds east of the Philippines. The PIES-based estimates of pycnocline displacement are found to have large uncertainties relative to overall variability in pycnocline depth, as localized deep current variations arising from interactions of the large-scale currents with the abrupt topography around Palau have significant travel time variability.
  • Article
    Large-scale, realistic laboratory modeling of M2 internal tide generation at the Luzon Strait
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2013-11-04) Mercier, Matthieu J. ; Gostiaux, Louis ; Helfrich, Karl R. ; Sommeria, Joel ; Viboud, Samuel ; Didelle, Henri ; Ghaemsaidi, Sasan J. ; Dauxois, Thierry ; Peacock, Thomas
    The complex double-ridge system in the Luzon Strait in the South China Sea (SCS) is one of the strongest sources of internal tides in the oceans, associated with which are some of the largest amplitude internal solitary waves on record. An issue of debate, however, has been the specific nature of their generation mechanism. To provide insight, we present the results of a large-scale laboratory experiment performed at the Coriolis platform. The experiment was carefully designed so that the relevant dimensionless parameters, which include the excursion parameter, criticality, Rossby, and Froude numbers, closely matched the ocean scenario. The results advocate that a broad and coherent weakly nonlinear, three-dimensional, M2 internal tide that is shaped by the overall geometry of the double-ridge system is radiated into the South China Sea and subsequently steepens, as opposed to being generated by a particular feature or localized region within the ridge system.
  • Article
    Tracking a surrogate hazardous agent (Rhodamine Dye) in a coastal ocean environment using In Situ measurements and concentration estimates derived from drone images
    (MDPI, 2021-11-02) Filippi, Margaux ; Hanlon, Regina ; Rypina, Irina I. ; Hodges, Benjamin A. ; Peacock, Thomas ; Schmale, David G.
    New tools and technology are needed to track hazardous agents such as oil and red tides in our oceans. Rhodamine dye (a surrogate hazardous agent) was released into the Atlantic ocean in August 2018, and experiments were conducted to track the movement of the dye near the water surface within three hours following the release. A DrOne Water Sampling SystEm (DOWSE), consisting of a 3D-printed sampling device tethered to a drone, was used to collect 26 water samples at different locations around the dye plume. Rhodamine concentrations were measured from the drone water samples using a fluorometer and ranged from 1 to 93 ppb. Dye images were taken during the drone-sampling of surface water containing dye and at about 10 m above the sampling point. These images were post-processed to estimate dye concentrations across the sampling domain. A comparison of calibrated heat maps showed that the altitude images yielded dye distributions that were qualitatively similar to those from images taken near the ocean surface. Moreover, the association between red ratios and dye concentrations yielded trendlines explaining up to 67% of the variation. Drones may be used to detect, track and assist in mitigating hazardous agents in the future.
  • 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
    Oceanic bottom mixed layer in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone: potential influence on deep-seabed mining plume dispersal
    (Springer, 2023-04-25) Chen, Si-Yuan Sean ; Ouillon, Raphael ; Muñoz-Royo, Carlos ; Peacock, Thomas
    The oceanic bottom mixed layer (BML) is a well mixed, weakly stratified, turbulent boundary layer. Adjacent to the seabed, the BML is of intrinsic importance for studying ocean mixing, energy dissipation, particle cycling and sediment-water interactions. While deep-seabed mining of polymetallic nodules is anticipated to commence in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ) of the northeastern tropical Pacific Ocean, knowledge gaps regarding the form of the BML and its potentially key influence on the dispersal of sediment plumes generated by deep-seabed mining activities are yet to be addressed. Here, we report recent field observations from the German mining licence area in the CCZ that characterise the structure and variability of the BML locally. Quasi-uniform profiles of potential temperature extending from the seafloor reveal the presence of a spatially and temporally variable BML with an average local thickness of approximately 250 m. Deep horizontal currents in the region have a mean speed of 3.5 cm s-1 and a maximum speed of 12 cm s-1 at 18.63 ms above bottom over an 11 month record. The near-bottom currents initially have a net southeastward flow, followed by westward and southward flows with the development of complex, anticyclonic flow patterns. Theoretical predictions and historical data show broad consistency with mean BML thickness but cannot explain the observed heterogeneity of local BML thickness. We postulate that deep pressure anomalies induced by passing surface mesoscale eddies and abyssal thermal fronts could affect BML thickness, in addition to local topographic effects. A simplified transport model is then used to study the influence of the BML on the interplay between turbulent diffusion and sediment settling in the transport of deep-seabed mining induced sediment plumes. Over a range of realistic parameter values, the effects of BML on plume evolution can vary significantly, highlighting that resolving the BML will be a crucial step for accurate numerical modelling of plume dispersal.
  • Dataset
    Data from the 2018 dye release cruise south of Martha’s Vineyard, MA
    (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 2021-06-24) Rypina, Irina I. ; Kirincich, Anthony R. ; Peacock, Thomas
    On Aug 16-17, 2018 a rhodamine dye experiment was conducted in the coastal ocean south of Martha’s Vineyard, MA. One of the experiment’s aims was to investigate the exchanges, or the absence of such, between the mixed layer and the ocean underneath over a time scale of about a day.