Farrar J. Thomas

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J. Thomas

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Now showing 1 - 4 of 4
  • Article
    A note on modeling mixing in the upper layers of the Bay of Bengal: importance of water type, water column structure and precipitation
    (Elsevier, 2019-04-29) Kantha, Lakshmi ; Weller, Robert A. ; Farrar, J. Thomas ; Rahaman, Hasibur ; Jampana, Venkata
    Turbulent mixing in the upper layers of the northern Bay of Bengal is affected by a shallow layer overlying the saline waters of the Bay, which results from the huge influx of freshwater from major rivers draining the Indian subcontinent and from rainfall over the Bay during the summer monsoon. The resulting halocline inhibits wind-driven mixing in the upper layers. The brackish layer also alters the optical properties of the water column. Air-sea interaction in the Bay is expected to play a significant role in the intraseasonal variability of summer monsoons over the Indian subcontinent, and as such the sea surface temperature (SST) changes during the summer monsoon are of considerable scientific and societal importance. In this study, data from the heavily instrumented Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) mooring, deployed at 18oN, 89.5oE in the northern Bay from December 2014 to January 2016, are used to drive a one-dimensional mixing model, based on second moment closure model of turbulence, to explore the intra-annual variability in the upper layers. The model results highlight the importance of the optical properties of the upper layers (and hence the penetration of solar insolation in the water column), as well as the temperature and salinity in the upper layers prescribed at the start of the model simulation, in determining the SST in the Bay during the summer monsoon. The heavy rainfall during the summer monsoon also plays an important role. The interseasonal and intraseasonal variability in the upper layers of the Bay are contrasted with those in the Arabian Sea, by the use of the same model but driven by data from an earlier deployment of a WHOI mooring in the Arabian Sea at 15.5 oN, 61.5 oE from December 1994 to December 1995.
  • Article
    Moored turbulence measurements using pulse-coherent doppler sonar
    (American Meteorological Society, 2021-09-01) Zippel, Seth F. ; Farrar, J. Thomas ; Zappa, Christopher J. ; Miller, Una ; St. Laurent, Louis C. ; Ijichi, Takashi ; Weller, Robert A. ; McRaven, Leah T. ; Nylund, Sven ; Le Bel, Deborah
    Upper-ocean turbulence is central to the exchanges of heat, momentum, and gases across the air–sea interface and therefore plays a large role in weather and climate. Current understanding of upper-ocean mixing is lacking, often leading models to misrepresent mixed layer depths and sea surface temperature. In part, progress has been limited by the difficulty of measuring turbulence from fixed moorings that can simultaneously measure surface fluxes and upper-ocean stratification over long time periods. Here we introduce a direct wavenumber method for measuring turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) dissipation rates ϵ from long-enduring moorings using pulse-coherent ADCPs. We discuss optimal programming of the ADCPs, a robust mechanical design for use on a mooring to maximize data return, and data processing techniques including phase-ambiguity unwrapping, spectral analysis, and a correction for instrument response. The method was used in the Salinity Processes Upper-Ocean Regional Study (SPURS) to collect two year-long datasets. We find that the mooring-derived TKE dissipation rates compare favorably to estimates made nearby from a microstructure shear probe mounted to a glider during its two separate 2-week missions for O(10−8) ≤ ϵ ≤ O(10−5) m2 s−3. Periods of disagreement between turbulence estimates from the two platforms coincide with differences in vertical temperature profiles, which may indicate that barrier layers can substantially modulate upper-ocean turbulence over horizontal scales of 1–10 km. We also find that dissipation estimates from two different moorings at 12.5 and at 7 m are in agreement with the surface buoyancy flux during periods of strong nighttime convection, consistent with classic boundary layer theory.
  • Article
    Parsing the kinetic energy budget of the ocean surface mixed layer
    (American Geophysical Union, 2022-01-10) Zippel, Seth F. ; Farrar, J. Thomas ; Zappa, Christopher J. ; Plueddemann, Albert J.
    The total rate of work done on the ocean by the wind is of considerable interest for understanding global energy balances, as the energy from the wind drives ocean currents, grows surface waves, and forces vertical mixing. A large but unknown fraction of this atmospheric energy is dissipated by turbulence in the upper ocean. The focus of this work is twofold. First, we describe a framework for evaluating the vertically integrated turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) equation using measurable quantities from a surface mooring, showing the connection to the atmospheric, mean oceanic, and wave energy. Second, we use this framework to evaluate turbulent energetics in the mixed layer using 10 months of mooring data. This evaluation is made possible by recent advances in estimating TKE dissipation rates from long-enduring moorings. We find that surface fluxes are balanced by TKE dissipation rates in the mixed layer to within a factor of two.
  • Article
    Scaling of moored surface ocean turbulence measurements in the Southeast Pacific Ocean
    (American Geophysical Union, 2022-12-17) Miller, Una Kim ; Zappa, Christopher J. ; Zippel, Seth F. ; Farrar, J. Thomas ; Weller, Robert A.
    Estimates of turbulence kinetic energy (TKE) dissipation rate (ε) are key in understanding how heat, gas, and other climate‐relevant properties are transferred across the air‐sea interface and mixed within the ocean. A relatively new method involving moored pulse‐coherent acoustic Doppler current profilers (ADCPs) allows for estimates of ε with concurrent surface flux and wave measurements across an extensive length of time and range of conditions. Here, we present 9 months of moored estimates of ε at a fixed depth of 8.4 m at the Stratus mooring site (20°S, 85°W). We find that turbulence regimes are quantified similarly using the Obukhov length scale (LM) $({L}_{M})$ and the newer Langmuir stability length scale (LL) $({L}_{L})$, suggesting that ocean‐side friction velocity u∗ $\left({u}_{\ast }\right)$ implicitly captures the influence of Langmuir turbulence at this site. This is illustrated by a strong correlation between surface Stokes drift us $\left({u}_{s}\right)$ and u∗ ${u}_{\ast }$ that is likely facilitated by the steady Southeast trade winds regime. In certain regimes, u∗3κz $\frac{{u}_{\ast }^{3}}{\kappa z}$, where κ $\kappa $ is the von Kármán constant and z $z$ is instrument depth, and surface buoyancy flux capture our estimates of ε $\varepsilon $ well, collapsing data points near unity. We find that a newer Langmuir turbulence scaling, based on us ${u}_{s}$ and u∗ ${u}_{\ast }$, scales ε well at times but is overall less consistent than u∗3κz $\frac{{u}_{\ast }^{3}}{\kappa z}$. Monin‐Obukhov similarity theory (MOST) relationships from prior studies in a variety of aquatic and atmospheric settings largely agree with our data in conditions where convection and wind‐driven current shear are both significant sources of TKE, but diverge in other regimes.