Biogeochemistry Circulation Instruments Mixing Other Projects
Biogeochemistry Investigator Sponsor
Mixing and circulation help regulate ocean productivity and New technologies offer new opportunities for well-formed interdisciplinary teams to measure and understand the complex biological, chemical and physical processes.
Eddies Drive Particulate Carbon Deep in the Ocean During the North Atlantic Spring Bloom

The swirling eddies that create patches of stratification to hold phytoplankton near the sunlit surface during the North Atlantic spring bloom, also inject the floating organic carbon particles deep into the ocean. The finding, reported in Science, has important implications for the ocean's role in the carbon cycle on Earth: phytoplankton use carbon dioxide absorbed by the ocean from the atmosphere during the bloom and the resulting organic carbon near the sea surface is sequestered in the deep ocean.

Eric D'Asaro
Craig Lee
North Atlantic Bloom

The phytoplankton of the North Atlantic bloom play a major role in pulling carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it in the ocean. An ambitious collaborative experiment in the North Atlantic near Iceland was led to coincide with the bloom in 2008. The challenge of the experiment was to characterize the bloom's temporal and spatial evolutions of physics, biology, and chemistry over its entire duration.

Eric D'Asaro
Craig Lee
Jason Gobat
North Atlantic Bloom - Webinar Series

This dynamic webinar series features the research of scientists from the North Atlantic Bloom (NAB) Experiment and focuses on key concepts in ocean science. The five-part series consists of presentations from NAB scientists, and tells the story of the North Atlantic spring phytoplankton bloom and its role in the ocean ecosystem.

Eric D'Asaro
Craig Lee
North Atlantic Bloom Experiment: Ocean Eddies Initiate the Springtime Phytoplankton Bloom

APL-UW oceanographers and their colleagues at WHOI and Univ. of Maine report in Science on a new physical mechanism discovered in the North Atlantic Ocean. Eddies convert horizontal density gradients to vertical ones, causing a stratification that brings the phytoplankton to the sunlit surface where they can grow.

Eric D'Asaro
Craig Lee
Physical and Optical Structures of the Upper Ocean of the Japan/East Sea

This study seeks to understand the processes that control physical and bio-optical variability in the Japan/East Sea including the upper ocean response to strong wintertime atmospheric forcing; watermass formation, subduction and spreading; dynamics of the subpolar front; and to characterize cross-front and cross-shelf bio-optical transitions.

Craig Lee
Washington Real-time Coastal Moorings (NEMO)

The Northwest Enhanced Moored Observatory (NEMO), which consists of a heavily-instrumented real-time surface mooring (Cha Ba), a real-time subsurface profiling mooring (NEMO-Subsurface) and a Seaglider to collect spatial information, aims to improve our understanding of complex physical, chemical and biological processes on the largely unsampled Washington shelf.

Matthew Alford
John Mickett
Jan Newton
Circulation Investigator Sponsor
Circulation at scales ranging from those of small estuaries to entire ocean basins play critical roles in a wide variety of processes, including contaminant transport, biological activity, fisheries health and climate variability. The study of ocean circulation requires an understanding of processes spanning a dramatic range of spatial and temporal scales. Investigations can thus take many forms, from tightly focused process studies to multi-year efforts to monitor the variability of large-scale currents.
Adriatic Circulation Experiment: Mesoscale Dynamics and Response to Strong Atmospheric Forcing

The Adriatic Sea provides a unique laboratory in which oceanographers can study the ocean's response to atmospheric forcing at small (10 km) lateral scales and investigate the processes that communicate atmospheric forcing events (seasonal winds and freshwater flows) to the ocean interior.

Craig Lee
An Observational Array for High-resolution, Year-round Measurement of Volume, Freshwater and Ice Flux Variability in Davis Strait

A coordinated domestic and international effort quantifies the variability of fluxes connecting the Arctic and Atlantic oceans and seeks to understand the role played by the Arctic and sub-Arctic in steering decadal scale climate variability; we will make year-round measurements of volume, liquid freshwater, and ice fluxes across Davis Strait.

Craig Lee
Global Internal Tides from Altimetry

This collaborative project with Dr. Harper Simmons (U. Alaska), aims to construct a global map of low-mode internal tide energy flux and dissipation by application of state-of-the-art techniques to a combination of satellite altimetry, moorings, and a numerical model.

Matthew Alford
John Mickett
Zhongxian Zhao
Luc Rainville
Japan/East Sea Data Archive

The Japan/East Sea exhibits many of the dynamical and biological features found in larger oceans, including deep water formation, subduction, boundary inputs, fronts, eddies, and biological zonation. This, combined with the basin's modest size and easy logistics, makes the Japan/East Sea an excellent laboratory for pursuing oceanographic studies with modern instruments and approaches. Building on the work of previous investigations, the Office of Naval Research sponsored an intensive observation and modeling program that explored the sea's physical, chemical, and biological systems. The program's data products, published papers, and reports are now accumulated and presented through one user interface.

Craig Lee
Monitoring Global Ocean Heat Content Changes by Internal Tide Oceanic Tomography

This study will obtain a 20-year-long record of global ocean heat content changes from 1995–2014 with a method called Internal tide oceanic tomography (ITOT), in which the satellite altimetry data are used to precisely measure travel times for long-range internal tides.

Zhongxiang Zhao
NEMO Deployment and Shelf Science Cruise

The primary purpose of the cruise is to deploy the NEMO (Northwest Enhanced Moored Observatory) moorings off the Washington coast in water about 100 m deep. While at sea, the team will also conduct science experiments to detect and track non-linear internal waves (NLIWs) traveling across the continental shelf break. Surveys with an echo sounder and the towed body SWIMS will be run from the shelf break toward the mooring location as well as in the Juan de Fuca Canyon.

Matthew Alford
Jan Newton
John Mickett
Keith Magness
Chris Siani

Origins of the Kuroshio and Mindanao Currents

The boundary currents off the east coast of the Philippines are of critical importance to the general circulation of the Pacific Ocean. The westward flowing North Equatorial Current (NEC) runs into the Philippine coast and bifurcates into the northward Kuroshio and the southward Mindanao Current. Quantifying these flows and understanding bifurcation dynamics are essential to improving predictions of regional circulation and Pacific Ocean climate. We have deployed five HPIES off NE Luzon Island under the Kuroshio and nine EM-APEX floats in the NEC as it flows westward toward the Philippine Islands.

Tom Sanford

Salinity Processes in the Upper-Ocean Regional Study (SPURS)

In conjunction with the new Aquarius satellite mission, which will measure sea surface salinity from space, this project aims to directly measure an annual cycle of upper ocean salinity in the North Atlantic using by high-resolution glider surveys.

Craig Lee
Luc Rainville
Seasonal and Interannual Variability of the Alaska Coastal Current: Long-term, Three-dimensional Observations Using a Telemetering Autonomous Vehicle

The AUV Seaglider is used to study the seasonal and interannual variability in ACC freshwater content and transport, the ACC's role in governing springtime mixed layer evolution over the shelf, the processes controlling temporal and spatial variability in the spring bloom, and the processes that may produce onshore nutrient flux.

Craig Lee
Stratified Ocean Dynamics of the Arctic — SODA

Craig Lee
Jamie Morison
Luc Rainville
Jim Thomson
Tasman Tidal Dissipation Experiment — T-TIDE

APL-UW researchers and an international team of collaborators spent a month in early 2015 in the Tasman Sea on the R/V Falkor. Their goal is to understand the life cycle of internal waves that propagate across the Tasman Sea and interact with the multitude of other motions that exist in the basin. Most importantly, they want to understand what happens when these waves hit the continental shelf.

Luc Rainville
Hayley Dosser
Wave Chasers: Deep Flows Through the Samoan Passage

The 'Wave Chasers' research team cruised the South Pacific Ocean to study the Samoan Passage — a 5500-m deep choke point that Antarctic bottom water must flow through on its way to the North Pacific. Three movies chronicle the expedition's motivations & methods, the fun of crushing objects under the pressures of the abyssal ocean, and the cultural exchanges with Samoans on Upolu Island.

Matthew Alford
John Mickett
Instruments Investigator Sponsor
Observations motivate most major advances in oceanography, and technology thus plays a critical role in oceanographic research. Significant technological development can produce unique measurement capabilities that offer new insights and may dramatically change our ideas of how the ocean-atmosphere system functions.
Blue Water Acoustics Research

The Blue Water Acoustics Research group is a multidisciplinary team of investigators committed to solving the fundamental physical problems of oceanic acoustic propagation across ocean basins. Our inquiry is focused to maximize application to tactical and environmental monitoring systems. Includes the North Pacific Acoustic Laboratory (NPAL) and the Long-range Ocean Acoustic Propagation Experiment (LOAPEX).

Jim Mercer
Bruce Howe
Rex Andrew
Frank Henyey
Mike Wolfson
Glider Monitoring, Piloting, and Communications System

APL-UW is leading a consortium of glider developers in advanced research and development to improve underwater glider systems for environmental characterizations during naval operation. Improvements include a common command control and display/transfer interface for use across all existing glider designs - the GLMPC system.

Craig Lee
David Jones
Hawaii Ocean Time Series (HOT) Profiler

We have developed a system of inductively charging a McLane profiler from a large bank of underwater batteries (actually 5100 "D" cells). The goal is to enable the profiler to profile the entire water column every hour or so for a whole year, which represents a ten-fold advance over current capabilities.

Matthew Alford
John Mickett
Zhongxian Zhao
Tim McGinnis
Hurricane Lagrangian Floats

Lagrangian floats, designed to follow the water parcel that surrounds them, are deployed by aircraft ahead of hurricanes. As the hurricane passes they sample the evolving surface mixed layer and then surface to telemeter their data by satellite to scientists.

Eric D'Asaro
Seaglider: Autonomous Undersea Vehicle

APL-UW scientists continually expand Seaglider's hardware/software systems, and sensor packages. First developed for oceanographic research, it is also used by the U.S. Navy to detect and monitor marine mammals. Recently, the manufacture and marketing of Seaglider has been licensed to Kongsberg Underwater Technology, Inc., which will push the vehicle to emerging markets in offshore environmental monitoring for the oil and gas industry.

Craig Lee
Neil Bogue
Mixing Investigator Sponsor
Mixing is crucial in setting the temperature and salinity structure of the ocean and the distribution of Mixing studies focus on its controlling physics: the generation, propagation and dissipation of internal waves, the turbulent processes in the ocean boundary layers and the interaction of these with bottom topography, small scale ocean currents and fronts.
Atmosphere-Ocean Interactions in the Extreme

An intensive observational program to study typhoons in the western Pacific Ocean collected the largest set of oceanographic and atmospheric data ever before, during, and after the passage of tropical cyclones.

Eric D'Asaro
Craig Lee
Ren-Chieh Lien
Luc Rainville
Tom Sanford
Big Waves Under the Pacific

Gravity waves that originate near Hawaii propagate under the surface across the Pacific to ultimately break on the continental slope near Alaska, Washington, and Oregon.

Matthew Alford

Changes in Seasonality in the Arctic Ocean

The Arctic sea ice cover impedes the generation and damps the propagation of surface and internal waves. As more and more of the deep Arctic Ocean becomes ice-free in the summer, wind-driven inertial waves and mixing are likely to become increasingly important. This project studies the consequences of the decreasing ice cover on the stratification of the upper ocean as well as its impacts on the geochemistry and biological productivity of the Arctic system.

Luc Rainville
Rebecca Woodgate
Diapycnal and Isopycnal Mixing Experiment in the Southern Ocean (DIMES)

DIMES is a US/UK field program aimed at measuring diapycnal and isopycnal mixing in the Southern Ocean, along the tilting isopycnals of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current.

James Girton
Luc Rainville
Generation, Propagation, and Dissipation of the Internal Tide in Monterey Submarine Canyon

An intensive research program in the Monterey Submarine Canyon that combines observations and numerical modelling to understand internal tide dynamics in the canyon is led by APL-UW and Univ. of Hawaii oceanographers.

Mike Gregg
Matthew Alford
Internal Waves in Straits Experiment (IWISE)

With field work in the summers of 2010 and 2011, this project focuses on understanding the mechanisms controlling the generation of internal tides in the two-ridge system of Luzon Strait, along with their propagation, contribution to mixing (dissipation) and interaction with the Kuroshio.

Matthew Alford
John Mickett
Zhongxian Zhao
Luc Rainville
Intrusions in the North Pacific Subtropical Frontal Zone

A field study of the interleaving features in the Subtropical Frontal Zone (STFZ) of the North Pacific Ocean was conducted from in July 2007. The experiment encompassed hydrographic surveying with a towed depth-cycling conductivity-temperature-depth (CTD) platform SWIMS, microstructure profiling, shipboard velocity observations, and Lagrangian float releases.

Mike Gregg
Matthew Alford
Andrey Shcherbina
Ramsey Harcourt

Lateral Mixing

Small scale eddies and internal waves in the ocean mix water masses laterally, as well as vertically. This multi-investigator project aims to study the physics of this mixing by combining dye dispersion studies with detailed measurements of the velocity, temperature and salinity field during field experiments in 2011 and 2012.

Craig Lee
Eric D'Asaro
Tom Sanford
Ren-Chieh Lien
Andrey Shcherbina
Salinity Processes in the Upper Ocean Regional Study — SPURS

The NASA SPURS research effort is actively addressing the essential role of the ocean in the global water cycle by measuring salinity and accumulating other data to improve our basic understanding of the ocean's water cycle and its ties to climate.

Andrey Shcherbina
Eric D'Asaro
Andy Jessup
Craig Lee
Luc Rainville
Samoan Passage Abyssal Mixing

The Samoan Passage, 5500 m beneath the sea surface, is one of the "choke points" in the abyssal circulation. A veritable river of Antarctic Bottom water flows through it on its way into the North Pacific. As it enters the constriction, substantial turbulence, hydraulic processes and internal waves must occur, which modify the water. The overall goal is to understand these deep processes and the way they impact the flow, and to develop a strategy for eventually monitoring the flow through the Passage.

Matthew Alford
John Mickett
Tasmania Internal Tide Experiment

The Tasmanian continental slope will be instrumented with a range of tools including moored profiler, chi-pods, CTDs, and gliders to understand the process, strength, and distribution of ocean mixing from breaking internal waves.

Matthew Alford
John Mickett
Luc Rainville
The Submesoscale Cascade in the South China Sea

This research program is investigating the evolution of submesoscale eddies and filaments in the Kuroshio-influenced region off the southwest coast of Taiwan.

Craig Lee
Luc Rainville
Other Projects Investigator Sponsor
ArcticMix 2015

APL-UW physical oceanographers John Mickett and Mike Gregg joined SIO colleagues during September 2015 in the Beaufort Sea aboard the R/V Sikuliaq to measure upper ocean mixing that billows heat from depth to the surface. These mixing dynamics may be an important factor in hastening sea ice melt during summer and delaying freeze-up in the fall.

John Mickett
Environmental Sample Processor: A Sentry for Toxic Algal Blooms off the Washington Coast

An undersea robot that measures harmful algal species has been deployed by APL, UW, and NOAA researchers off the Washington coast near La Push. Algal bloom toxicity data are relayed to shore in near-real time and displayed through the NANOOS visualization system. The Environmental Sample Processor, or ESP, is taking measurements near the Juan de Fuca eddy, which is a known incubation site for toxic blooms that often travel toward coastal beaches, threatening fisheries and human health.

Jan Newton
John Mickett
Chris Siani
Marginal Ice Zone (MIZ) Program

An integrated program of observations and numerical simulations will focus on understanding ice–ocean–atmosphere dynamics in and around the MIZ, with particular emphasis on quantifying changes associated with decreasing ice cover. The MIZ measurement program will employ a novel mix of autonomous technologies (ice-based instrumentation, floats, drifters, and gliders) to characterize the processes that govern Beaufort Sea MIZ evolution from initial breakup and MIZ formation though the course of the summertime sea ice retreat.

Craig Lee
Luc Rainville
Jim Thomson
Jinlun Zhang
NEMO Deployment off the Washington Coast 2015

NEMO is the Northwest Enhanced Moored Observatory. The two advanced moorings located in water about 100 m deep off the Washington coast and a repeating Seaglider transect over the continental shelf have been collecting atmospheric and oceanographic data for over five years.

John Mickett
Jan Newton
Ocean Acidification

Scientists from APL-UW and NOAA are studying the changing pH of Washington's coastal waters. Puget Sound may be hit hard and fast by the threat of ocean acidification.

Jan Newton
Matthew Alford
ORCA Tracks the 'Blob'

A 'blob' of very warm surface water developed in the northeastern Pacific Ocean in 2014–2015 and its influence extended to the inland waters of Puget Sound throughout the summer of 2015. The unprecedented conditions were tracked by the ORCA (Oceanic Remote Chemical Analyzer) buoy network — an array of six heavily instrumented moored buoys in the Sound. ORCA data provided constant monitoring of evolving conditions and allowed scientists to warn of possible fish kill events in the oxygen-starved waters of Hood Canal well in advance. The ORCA network is maintained by a partnership among APL-UW, the UW College of the Environment, and the UW School of Oceanography.

Jan Newton
John Mickett
Hannah Glover
Zoe Parsons
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