Can underwater gliders quantify horizontal ocean mixing in the West Antarctic?

Lead Research Organisation: University of Southampton
Department Name: School of Ocean and Earth Science

Abstract

Quantifying and understanding the processes driving ocean mixing is key to closing the ocean's overturning circulation and improving future climate projections. Historically, mixing measurements in the ocean have been taken using free-falling profilers; however in the last five years new techniques have been developed to allow turbulence to be measured using underwater gliders (Fer et al., 2014). These platforms increase by an order of magnitude the number of measurements both of dissipation of turbulent kinetic energy, and the dissipation of temperature variance within the ocean. Whilst this in itself provides very significant improvements in resolving the patchiness of vertical mixing, we wish to understand whether these measurements can, with careful processing, be used to calculate horizontal ocean mixing. This is an important quantity to estimate in the West Antarctic, as horizontal mixing and stirring of the ocean by eddies are important processes for delivering ocean heat to the glaciers and ice shelves in this region (Martinson et al., 2008; Pritchard et al., 2012). The West Antarctic is known to be one of the fastest warming environments on the planet, with significant loss of both land- and sea-ice in the last 30 years. The work will be strongly integrated with existing expertise at BAS and the University of Southampton in Southern Ocean mixing processes, ultimately providing NEXUSS CDT improved estimates of horizontal heat fluxes in this rapidly changing region.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Challenger Society for Marine Science Student Travel Award
Amount £500 (GBP)
Organisation Challenger Society for Marine Science 
Sector Learned Society
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2018 
End 08/2018
 
Description Ecole polytechnique Summer School Travel Bursary
Amount € 500 (EUR)
Organisation Ecole Polytechnique 
Sector Academic/University
Country France
Start 07/2017 
End 07/2017
 
Description RAS Travel Grant
Amount £800 (GBP)
Organisation Royal Astronomical Society 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 12/2016 
End 12/2016
 
Title Automated Glider Microstructure Processing 
Description The scripts I've developed automatically process microstructure data that were collected using a Slocum Glider 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact I have used it to process the glider data in my PhD 
 
Description Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Visiting Student 
Organisation Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Country United States 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution I worked on a project that we created based on observations in the Arctic. We wrote a paper out of the work that I completed at WHOI.
Collaborator Contribution My collaborator supervised the work I was doing and contributed to the writing in our paper
Impact We wrote the paper in the URL above.
Start Year 2018
 
Description BlueDot Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I helped man the BAS stand at BlueDot Festival, with the aim of getting the general public interested in polar science. I talked about my work with gliders.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description British Antarctic Survey Open Day 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I talked about gliders at the British Antarctic Survey open day
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Norwich Science Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I manned the BAS stand at the Norwich Science Festival, talking about gliders
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018