Mahadevan Amala

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  • Article
    Flow-driven branching in a frangible porous medium
    (American Physical Society, 2020-10-06) Derr, Nicholas J. ; Fronk, David C. ; Weber, Christoph A. ; Mahadevan, Amala ; Rycroft, Chris H. ; Mahadevan, L.
    Channel formation and branching is widely seen in physical systems where movement of fluid through a porous structure causes the spatiotemporal evolution of the medium. We provide a simple theoretical framework that embodies this feedback mechanism in a multiphase model for flow through a frangible porous medium with a dynamic permeability. Numerical simulations of the model show the emergence of branched networks whose topology is determined by the geometry of external flow forcing. This allows us to delineate the conditions under which splitting and/or coalescing branched network formation is favored, with potential implications for both understanding and controlling branching in soft frangible media.
  • Article
    Submesoscale processes at shallow salinity fronts in the Bay of Bengal : observations during the winter monsoon
    (American Meteorological Society, 2018-02-26) Ramachandran, Sanjiv ; Tandon, Amit ; MacKinnon, Jennifer A. ; Lucas, Andrew J. ; Pinkel, Robert ; Waterhouse, Amy F. ; Nash, Jonathan D. ; Shroyer, Emily L. ; Mahadevan, Amala ; Weller, Robert A. ; Farrar, J. Thomas
    Lateral submesoscale processes and their influence on vertical stratification at shallow salinity fronts in the central Bay of Bengal during the winter monsoon are explored using high-resolution data from a cruise in November 2013. The observations are from a radiator survey centered at a salinity-controlled density front, embedded in a zone of moderate mesoscale strain (0.15 times the Coriolis parameter) and forced by winds with a downfront orientation. Below a thin mixed layer, often ≤10 m, the analysis shows several dynamical signatures indicative of submesoscale processes: (i) negative Ertel potential vorticity (PV); (ii) low-PV anomalies with O(1–10) km lateral extent, where the vorticity estimated on isopycnals and the isopycnal thickness are tightly coupled, varying in lockstep to yield low PV; (iii) flow conditions susceptible to forced symmetric instability (FSI) or bearing the imprint of earlier FSI events; (iv) negative lateral gradients in the absolute momentum field (inertial instability); and (v) strong contribution from differential sheared advection at O(1) km scales to the growth rate of the depth-averaged stratification. The findings here show one-dimensional vertical processes alone cannot explain the vertical stratification and its lateral variability over O(1–10) km scales at the radiator survey.
  • Article
    The AlborEX dataset: Sampling of sub-mesoscale features in the Alboran Aea
    (Copernicus Publications, 2019-01-25) Troupin, Charles ; Pascual, Ananda ; Ruiz, Simon ; Olita, Antonio ; Casas, Benjamin ; Margirier, Félix ; Poulain, Pierre Marie ; Notarstefano, Giulio ; Torner, Marc ; Fernández, Juan Gabriel ; Rújula, Miquel Àngel ; Muñoz, Cristian ; Alou, Eva ; Ruiz, Inmaculada ; Tovar-Sánchez, Antonio ; Allen, John T. ; Mahadevan, Amala ; Tintoré, Joaquín
    he AlborEX (Alboran Sea Experiment) consisted of a multi-platform, multi-disciplinary experiment carried out in the Alboran Sea (western Mediterranean Sea) between 25 and 31 May 2014. The observational component of AlborEx aimed to sample the physical and biogeochemical properties of oceanographic features present along an intense frontal zone, with a particular interest in the vertical motions in its vicinity. To this end, the mission included 1 research vessel (66 profiles), 2 underwater gliders (adding up 552 profiles), 3 profiling floats, and 25 surface drifters. Near real-time ADCP velocities were collected nightly and during the CTD sections. All of the profiling floats acquired temperature and conductivity profiles, while the Provor-bio float also measured oxygen and chlorophyll a concentrations, coloured dissolved organic matter, backscattering at 700nm, downwelling irradiance at 380, 410, and 490nm, as well as photo-synthetically active radiation (PAR). In the context of mesoscale and sub-mesoscale interactions, the AlborEX dataset constitutes a particularly valuable source of information to infer mechanisms, evaluate vertical transport, and establish relationships between the thermal and haline structures and the biogeochemical variable evolution, in a region characterised by strong horizontal gradients provoked by the confluence of Atlantic and Mediterranean waters, thanks to its multi-platform, multi-disciplinary nature. The dataset presented in this paper can be used for the validation of high-resolution numerical models or for data assimilation experiment, thanks to the various scales of processes sampled during the cruise. All the data files that make up the dataset are available in the SOCIB data catalog at (Pascual et al., 2018). The nutrient concentrations are available at (last access: 24 December 2018).
  • Working Paper
    A modern coastal ocean observing system using data from advanced satellite and in situ sensors – an example
    (NSF/Ocean Research Coordination Network, 2015-06-01) Yoder, James A. ; Davis, Curtiss O. ; Dierssen, Heidi M. ; Muller-Karger, Frank E. ; Mahadevan, Amala ; Pearlman, Jay ; Sosik, Heidi M.
    This report is intended to illustrate and provide recommendations for how ocean observing systems of the next decade could focus on coastal environments using combined satellite and in situ measurements. Until recently, space-based observations have had surface footprints typically spanning hundreds of meters to kilometers. These provide excellent synoptic views for a wide variety of ocean characteristics. In situ observations are instead generally point or linear measurements. The interrelation between space-based and in-situ observations can be challenging. Both are necessary and as sensors and platforms evolve during the next decade, the trend to facilitate interfacing space and in-situ observations must continue and be expanded. In this report, we use coastal observation and analyses to illustrate an observing system concept that combines in situ and satellite observing technologies with numerical models to quantify subseasonal time scale transport of freshwater and its constituents from terrestrial water storage bodies across and along continental shelves, as well as the impacts on some key biological/biogeochemical properties of coastal waters.
  • Article
    Effects of oceanic mesoscale and submesoscale frontal processes on the vertical transport of phytoplankton
    (American Geophysical Union, 2019-07-23) Ruiz, Simon ; Claret, Mariona ; Pascual, Ananda ; Olita, Antonio ; Troupin, Charles ; Capet, Arthur ; Tovar-Sánchez, Antonio ; Allen, John T. ; Poulain, Pierre Marie ; Tintoré, Joaquín ; Mahadevan, Amala
    Oceanic fronts are dynamically active regions of the global ocean that support upwelling and downwelling with significant implications for phytoplankton production and export. However (on time scales urn:x-wiley:jgrc:media:jgrc23568:jgrc23568-math-0001 the inertial time scale), the vertical velocity is 103–104 times weaker than the horizontal velocity and is difficult to observe directly. Using intensive field observations in conjunction with a process study ocean model, we examine vertical motion and its effect on phytoplankton fluxes at multiple spatial horizontal scales in an oligotrophic region in the Western Mediterranean Sea. The mesoscale ageostrophic vertical velocity (∼10 m/day) inferred from our observations shapes the large‐scale phytoplankton distribution but does not explain the narrow (1–10 km wide) features of high chlorophyll content extending 40–60 m downward from the deep chlorophyll maximum. Using modeling, we show that downwelling submesoscale features concentrate 80% of the downward vertical flux of phytoplankton within just 15% of the horizontal area. These submesoscale spatial structures serve as conduits between the surface mixed layer and pycnocline and can contribute to exporting carbon from the sunlit surface layers to the ocean interior.
  • Article
    Quantifying the impact of submesoscale processes on the spring phytoplankton bloom in a turbulent upper ocean using a Lagrangian approach
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2016-05-18) Brody, Sarah R. ; Lozier, M. Susan ; Mahadevan, Amala
    The spring phytoplankton bloom in the subpolar North Atlantic and the mechanisms controlling its evolution and onset have important consequences for marine ecosystems and carbon cycling. Submesoscale mixed layer eddies (MLEs) play a role in the onset of the bloom by creating localized stratification and alleviating phytoplankton light limitation; however, the importance of MLEs for phytoplankton in a turbulent surface mixed layer has not yet been examined. We explore the effect of MLEs on phytoplankton by simulating their trajectories with Lagrangian particles subject to turbulent vertical displacements in an MLE-resolving model. By tracking the light exposure of the simulated phytoplankton, we find that MLEs can advance the timing of the spring bloom by 1 to 2 weeks, depending on surface forcing conditions. The onset of the bloom is linked with the onset of positive heat fluxes, whether or not MLEs are present.
  • Article
    Enhancement in vertical fluxes at a front by mesoscale-submesoscale coupling
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2014-12-12) Ramachandran, Sanjiv ; Tandon, Amit ; Mahadevan, Amala
    Oceanic frontal instabilities are of importance for the vertical exchange of properties in the ocean. Submesoscale, O(1) Rossby number, dynamics are particularly relevant for inducing the vertical (and lateral) flux of buoyancy and tracers in the mixed layer, but how these couple with the stratified pycnocline is less clear. Observations show surface fronts often persist beneath the mixed layer. Here we use idealized, three-dimensional model simulations to show how surface fronts that extend deeper into the pycnocline invoke enhanced vertical fluxes through the coupling of submesoscale and mesoscale instabilities. We contrast simulations in which the front is restricted to the mixed layer with those in which it extends deeper. For the deeper fronts, we examine the effect of density stratification on the vertical coupling. Our results show deep fronts can dynamically couple the mixed layer and pycnocline on time scales that increase with the peak stratification beneath the mixed layer. Eddies in the interior generate skew fluxes of buoyancy and tracer oriented along isopycnals, thus providing an adiabatic pathway for the interior to interact with the mixed layer at fronts. The vertical enhancement of tracer fluxes through the mesoscale-submesoscale coupling described here is thus relevant to the vertical supply of nutrients for phytoplankton in the ocean. A further implication for wind-forced fronts is that the vertical structure of the stream function characterizing the exchange between the interior and the mixed layer exhibits significant qualitative differences compared to a linear combination of existing parameterizations of submesoscale eddies in the mixed layer and mesoscale eddies in the interior. The discrepancies are most severe within the mixed layer suggesting a potential role for Ekman-layer dynamics absent in existing submesoscale parameterizations.
  • Preprint
    Production and destruction of eddy kinetic energy in forced submesoscale eddy-resolving simulations
    ( 2016-12-02) Mukherjee, Sonaljit ; Ramachandran, Sanjiv ; Tandon, Amit ; Mahadevan, Amala
    We study the production and dissipation of the eddy kinetic energy (EKE) in a submesoscale eddy field forced with downfront winds using the Process Study Ocean Model (PSOM) with a horizontal grid resolution of 0.5 km. We simulate an idealized 100 m deep mixed-layer front initially in geostrophic balance with a jet in a domain that permits eddies within a range of O(1km–100 km). The vertical eddy viscosities and the dissipation are parameterized using four different subgrid vertical mixing parameterizations: the k−ϵ,k−ϵ, the KPP, and two different constant eddy viscosity and diffusivity profiles with a magnitude of O(10−2m2s−1) in the mixed layer. Our study shows that strong vertical eddy viscosities near the surface reduce the parameterized dissipation, whereas strong vertical eddy diffusivities reduce the lateral buoyancy gradients and consequently the rate of restratification by mixed-layer instabilities (MLI). Our simulations show that near the surface, the spatial variability of the dissipation along the periphery of the eddies depends on the relative alignment of the ageostrophic and geostrophic shear. Analysis of the resolved EKE budgets in the frontal region from the simulations show important similarities between the vertical structure of the EKE budget produced by the k−ϵk−ϵ and KPP parameterizations, and earlier LES studies. Such an agreement is absent in the simulations using constant eddy-viscosity parameterizations.
  • Article
    Sustenance of phytoplankton in the subpolar North Atlantic during winter
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2018-09-14) Karimpour, Farid ; Tandon, Amit ; Mahadevan, Amala
    We consider two factors that affect the mixed layer depth (MLD) and potentially contribute to phytoplankton sustenance over winter—variability of air‐sea fluxes and three‐dimensional processes arising from horizontal density gradients (fronts). The role of these two factors is addressed using several three‐dimensional idealized numerical simulations in a process study ocean model forced with air‐sea fluxes at different temporal averaging frequencies. Results show that in winter, when the average mixed layer is much deeper than the euphotic layer and the period of daylight is short, phytoplankton production is relatively insensitive to high‐frequency variability in air‐sea fluxes. Short‐lived stratification events during light‐limited conditions have very little impact on phytoplankton production. On the other hand, the slumping of fronts shallows the mixed layer in a patchy manner and the associated restratification persists considerably longer than that caused by changes in air‐sea fluxes. Simulations with fronts show that in winter, the average MLD is about 600 m shallower than simulations without fronts. Prior to spring warming, the depth‐integrated phytoplankton concentration in the model with fronts is about twice as large as the case without fronts. Hence, even in winter, restratification by fronts is important for setting the MLD; it increases the residence time of phytoplankton in the euphotic layer and contributes to phytoplankton growth, thereby sustaining phytoplankton populations in winter. Higher model resolution intensifies submesoscale dynamics, leading to stronger restratification, shallower mixed layers, greater variability in the MLD, and more production of phytoplankton.
  • Article
    Can we detect submesoscale motions in drifter pair dispersion?
    (American Meteorological Society, 2019-08-20) Essink, Sebastian ; Hormann, Verena ; Centurioni, Luca R. ; Mahadevan, Amala
    A cluster of 45 drifters deployed in the Bay of Bengal is tracked for a period of four months. Pair dispersion statistics, from observed drifter trajectories and simulated trajectories based on surface geostrophic velocity, are analyzed as a function of drifter separation and time. Pair dispersion suggests nonlocal dynamics at submesoscales of 1–20 km, likely controlled by the energetic mesoscale eddies present during the observations. Second-order velocity structure functions and their Helmholtz decomposition, however, suggest local dispersion and divergent horizontal flow at scales below 20 km. This inconsistency cannot be explained by inertial oscillations alone, as has been reported in recent studies, and is likely related to other nondispersive processes that impact structure functions but do not enter pair dispersion statistics. At scales comparable to the deformation radius LD, which is approximately 60 km, we find dynamics in agreement with Richardson’s law and observe local dispersion in both pair dispersion statistics and second-order velocity structure functions.
  • Article
    Submesoscale processes promote seasonal restratification in the Subantarctic Ocean
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2017-04-08) du Plessis, Marcel ; Swart, Sebastiaan ; Ansorge, Isabelle ; Mahadevan, Amala
    Traditionally, the mechanism driving the seasonal restratification of the Southern Ocean mixed layer (ML) is thought to be the onset of springtime warming. Recent developments in numerical modeling and North Atlantic observations have shown that submesoscale ML eddies (MLE) can drive a restratifying flux to shoal the deep winter ML prior to solar heating at high latitudes. The impact of submesoscale processes on the intraseasonal variability of the Subantarctic ML is still relatively unknown. We compare 5 months of glider data in the Subantarctic Zone to simulations of a 1-D mixing model to show that the magnitude of restratification of the ML cannot be explained by heat, freshwater, and momentum fluxes alone. During early spring, we estimate that periodic increases in the vertical buoyancy flux by MLEs caused small increases in stratification, despite predominantly down-front winds that promote the destruction of stratification. The timing of seasonal restratification was consistent between 1-D model estimates and the observations. However, during up-front winds, the strength of springtime stratification increased over twofold compared to the 1-D model, with a rapid shoaling of the MLD from >200 m to <100 m within a few days. The ML stratification is further modified under a negative Ekman buoyancy flux during down-front winds, resulting in the destruction of ML stratification and deepening of the MLD. These results propose the importance of submesoscale buoyancy fluxes enhancing seasonal restratification and mixing of the Subantarctic ML.
  • Article
    Diversity of growth rates maximizes phytoplankton productivity in an eddying ocean
    (American Geophysical Union, 2022-01-20) Freilich, Mara ; Flierl, Glenn R. ; Mahadevan, Amala
    In the subtropical gyres, phytoplankton rely on eddies for transporting nutrients from depth to the euphotic zone. But, what controls the rate of nutrient supply for new production? We show that vertical nutrient flux both depends on the vertical motion within the eddying flow and varies nonlinearly with the phytoplankton growth rate. Flux is maximized when the growth rate matches the inverse of the decorrelation timescale for vertical motion. Using a three-dimensional ocean model and a linear nutrient uptake model, we find that phytoplankton productivity is maximized for a growth rate of 1/3 day−1, which corresponds to the timescale of submesoscale dynamics. Variability in the frequency of vertical motion across different physical features of the flow favors phytoplankton production with different growth rates. Such a growth-transport feedback can generate diversity in the phytoplankton community structure at submesoscales and higher net productivity in the presence of community diversity.
  • Article
    The LatMix summer campaign : submesoscale stirring in the upper ocean
    (American Meteorological Society, 2015-08) Shcherbina, Andrey Y. ; Sundermeyer, Miles A. ; Kunze, Eric ; D'Asaro, Eric A. ; Badin, Gualtiero ; Birch, Daniel ; Brunner-Suzuki, Anne-Marie E. G. ; Callies, Joern ; Cervantes, Brandy T. Kuebel ; Claret, Mariona ; Concannon, Brian ; Early, Jeffrey ; Ferrari, Raffaele ; Goodman, Louis ; Harcourt, Ramsey R. ; Klymak, Jody M. ; Lee, Craig M. ; Lelong, M.-Pascale ; Levine, Murray D. ; Lien, Ren-Chieh ; Mahadevan, Amala ; McWilliams, James C. ; Molemaker, M. Jeroen ; Mukherjee, Sonaljit ; Nash, Jonathan D. ; Ozgokmen, Tamay M. ; Pierce, Stephen D. ; Ramachandran, Sanjiv ; Samelson, Roger M. ; Sanford, Thomas B. ; Shearman, R. Kipp ; Skyllingstad, Eric D. ; Smith, K. Shafer ; Tandon, Amit ; Taylor, John R. ; Terray, Eugene A. ; Thomas, Leif N. ; Ledwell, James R.
    Lateral stirring is a basic oceanographic phenomenon affecting the distribution of physical, chemical, and biological fields. Eddy stirring at scales on the order of 100 km (the mesoscale) is fairly well understood and explicitly represented in modern eddy-resolving numerical models of global ocean circulation. The same cannot be said for smaller-scale stirring processes. Here, the authors describe a major oceanographic field experiment aimed at observing and understanding the processes responsible for stirring at scales of 0.1–10 km. Stirring processes of varying intensity were studied in the Sargasso Sea eddy field approximately 250 km southeast of Cape Hatteras. Lateral variability of water-mass properties, the distribution of microscale turbulence, and the evolution of several patches of inert dye were studied with an array of shipboard, autonomous, and airborne instruments. Observations were made at two sites, characterized by weak and moderate background mesoscale straining, to contrast different regimes of lateral stirring. Analyses to date suggest that, in both cases, the lateral dispersion of natural and deliberately released tracers was O(1) m2 s–1 as found elsewhere, which is faster than might be expected from traditional shear dispersion by persistent mesoscale flow and linear internal waves. These findings point to the possible importance of kilometer-scale stirring by submesoscale eddies and nonlinear internal-wave processes or the need to modify the traditional shear-dispersion paradigm to include higher-order effects. A unique aspect of the Scalable Lateral Mixing and Coherent Turbulence (LatMix) field experiment is the combination of direct measurements of dye dispersion with the concurrent multiscale hydrographic and turbulence observations, enabling evaluation of the underlying mechanisms responsible for the observed dispersion at a new level.
  • Article
    Penetrative radiative flux in the Bay of Bengal
    (The Oceanography Society, 2016-06) Lotliker, Aneesh ; Omand, Melissa M. ; Lucas, Andrew J. ; Laney, Samuel R. ; Mahadevan, Amala ; Ravichandran, M.
    The Bay of Bengal (BoB), a semi-enclosed basin in the northern Indian Ocean, is a complex region with large freshwater inputs and strong vertical stratification that result in a shallow, spatially variable mixed layer. With the exception of shortwave insolation, the air-sea heat exchange occurs at the sea surface and is vertically redistributed by mixing and advection. Strongly stratified, shallow mixed layers inhibit vertical mixing, and the penetration of solar radiation through the base of the mixed layer can lead to redistribution of upper-ocean heat. This paper compiles observations of hyperspectral downwelling irradiance (Ed) from 67 profiles collected during six research cruises in the BoB that span a broad range of regions and seasons between 2009 and 2014. We report attenuation length scales computed using double and single exponential models and quantify the penetration of radiative flux below the mixed layer depth (Qpen). We then evaluate estimates of Qpen obtained from published chlorophyll-based models and compare them to our observations. We find that the largest penetrative heat flux (up to 40% of the incident Ed) occurs near 16°N where the mixed layers are shallow and the water is optically clear.
  • Article
    Southern Ocean seasonal restratification delayed by submesoscale wind-front interactions
    (American Meteorological Society, 2019-04-11) du Plessis, Marcel ; Swart, Sebastiaan ; Ansorge, Isabelle ; Mahadevan, Amala ; Thompson, Andrew F.
    Ocean stratification and the vertical extent of the mixed layer influence the rate at which the ocean and atmosphere exchange properties. This process has direct impacts for anthropogenic heat and carbon uptake in the Southern Ocean. Submesoscale instabilities that evolve over space (1–10 km) and time (from hours to days) scales directly influence mixed layer variability and are ubiquitous in the Southern Ocean. Mixed layer eddies contribute to mixed layer restratification, while down-front winds, enhanced by strong synoptic storms, can erode stratification by a cross-frontal Ekman buoyancy flux. This study investigates the role of these submesoscale processes on the subseasonal and interannual variability of the mixed layer stratification using four years of high-resolution glider data in the Southern Ocean. An increase of stratification from winter to summer occurs due to a seasonal warming of the mixed layer. However, we observe transient decreases in stratification lasting from days to weeks, which can arrest the seasonal restratification by up to two months after surface heat flux becomes positive. This leads to interannual differences in the timing of seasonal restratification by up to 36 days. Parameterizing the Ekman buoyancy flux in a one-dimensional mixed layer model reduces the magnitude of stratification compared to when the model is run using heat and freshwater fluxes alone. Importantly, the reduced stratification occurs during the spring restratification period, thereby holding important implications for mixed layer dynamics in climate models as well as physical–biological coupling in the Southern Ocean.
  • 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
    Variability of near-surface circulation and sea surface salinity observed from Lagrangian drifters in the northern Bay of Bengal during the Waning 2015 Southwest Monsoon
    (The Oceanography Society, 2016-06) Hormann, Verena ; Centurioni, Luca R. ; Mahadevan, Amala ; Essink, Sebastian ; D'Asaro, Eric A. ; Kumar, B. Praveen
    A dedicated drifter experiment was conducted in the northern Bay of Bengal during the 2015 waning southwest monsoon. To sample a variety of spatiotemporal scales, a total of 36 salinity drifters and 10 standard drifters were deployed in a tight array across a freshwater front. The salinity drifters carried for the first time a revised sensor algorithm, and its performance during the 2015 field experiment is very encouraging for future efforts. Most of the drifters were quickly entrained in a mesoscale feature centered at about 16.5°N, 89°E and stayed close together during the first month of observations. While the eddy was associated with rather homogeneous temperature and salinity characteristics, much larger variability was found outside of it toward the coastline, and some of the observed salinity patches had amplitudes in excess of 1.5 psu. To particularly quantify the smaller spatiotemporal scales, an autocorrelation analysis of the drifter salinities for the first two deployment days was performed, indicating not only spatial scales of less than 5 km but also temporal variations of the order of a few hours. The hydrographic measurements were complemented by first estimates of kinematic properties from the drifter clusters, however, more work is needed to link the different observed characteristics.
  • Technical Report
    UCTD and EcoCTD Observations from the CALYPSO Pilot Experiment (2018): Cruise and Data Report
    (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 2019-01) Dever, Mathieu ; Freilich, Mara ; Hodges, Benjamin A. ; Farrar, J. Thomas ; Lanagan, Thomas ; Mahadevan, Amala
    From May 27, 2018 to June 02, 2018, a scientific campaign was conducted in the Alboran Sea as part of an ONR Departmental Research Initiative, CALYPSO. The pilot cruise involved two ships: the R/V Socib, tasked with sampling fixed lines repeatedly, and the NRV Alliance that surveyed along the trajectory of Lagrangian platforms. A large variety of assets were deployed from the NRV Alliance, with the objective to identify coherent Lagrangian pathways from the surface ocean to interior. As part of the field campaign, an Underway-CTD (UCTD) system was used to measure vertical profiles of salinity, temperature and other properties while steaming, to achieve closely spaced measurements in the horizontal along the ship's track. Both a UCTD probe and an biooptically augmented probe, named EcoCTD, were deployed. The EcoCTD collects concurrent physical and bio-optical observations. This report focuses exclusively on the data collected by these two underway systems. It describes th e datasets collected during the pilot cruise, as well as the important processing steps developed for the EcoCTD.
  • Article
    Adrift upon a salinity-stratified sea : a view of upper-ocean processes in the Bay of Bengal during the southwest monsoon
    (The Oceanography Society, 2016-06) Lucas, Andrew J. ; Nash, Jonathan D. ; Pinkel, Robert ; MacKinnon, Jennifer A. ; Tandon, Amit ; Mahadevan, Amala ; Omand, Melissa M. ; Freilich, Mara ; Sengupta, Debasis ; Ravichandran, M. ; Le Boyer, Arnaud
    The structure and variability of upper-ocean properties in the Bay of Bengal (BoB) modulate air-sea interactions, which profoundly influence the pattern and intensity of monsoonal precipitation across the Indian subcontinent. In turn, the bay receives a massive amount of freshwater through river input at its boundaries and from heavy local rainfall, leading to a salinity-stratified surface ocean and shallow mixed layers. Small-scale oceanographic processes that drive variability in near-surface BoB waters complicate the tight coupling between ocean and atmosphere implicit in this seasonal feedback. Unraveling these ocean dynamics and their impact on air-sea interactions is critical to improving the forecasting of intraseasonal variability in the southwest monsoon. To that end, we deployed a wave-powered, rapidly profiling system capable of measuring the structure and variability of the upper 100 m of the BoB. The evolution of upper-ocean structure along the trajectory of the instrument’s roughly two-week drift, along with direct estimates of vertical fluxes of salt and heat, permit assessment of the contributions of various phenomena to temporal and spatial variability in the surface mixed layer depth. Further, these observations suggest that the particular “barrier-layer” stratification found in the BoB may decrease the influence of the wind on mixing processes in the interior, thus isolating the upper ocean from the interior below, and tightening its coupling to the atmosphere above.
  • Article
    The shape of the oceanic nitracline
    (Copernicus Publications on behalf of the European Geosciences Union, 2015-06-03) Omand, Melissa M. ; Mahadevan, Amala
    In most regions of the ocean, nitrate is depleted near the surface by phytoplankton consumption and increases with depth, exhibiting a strong vertical gradient in the pycnocline (here referred to as the nitracline). The vertical supply of nutrients to the surface euphotic zone is influenced by the vertical gradient (slope) of the nitracline and by the vertical separation (depth) of the nitracline from the sunlit surface layer. Hence it is important to understand the shape (slope and curvature) and depth of the oceanic nitracline. By using density coordinates to analyze nitrate profiles from autonomous Autonomous Profiling EXplorer floats with In-Situ Ultraviolet Spectrophotometers (APEX-ISUS) and ship-based platforms (World Ocean Atlas – WOA09; Hawaii Ocean Time-series – HOT; Bermuda Atlantic Time-series Study – BATS; and California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations – CalCOFI), we are able to eliminate much of the spatial and temporal variability in the profiles and derive robust relationships between nitrate and density. This allows us to characterize the depth, slope and curvature of the nitracline in different regions of the world's oceans. The analysis reveals distinguishing patterns in the nitracline between subtropical gyres, upwelling regions and subpolar gyres. We propose a one-dimensional, mechanistic model that relates the shape of the nitracline to the relative depths of the surface mixed layer and euphotic layer. Though heuristic, the model accounts for some of the seasonal patterns and regional differences in the nitrate–density relationships seen in the data.