Airborne Remote Sensing of Wave Propagation in the Marginal Ice Zone

Type Article
Date 2018-06
Language English
Author(s) Sutherland Peter1, Brozena John2, Rogers W. Erick3, Doble Martin4, Wadhams Peter5
Affiliation(s) 1 : IFREMER, LOPS, Plouzane, France.
2 : Naval Res Lab, Marine Geosci Div, Washington, DC 20375 USA.
3 : Naval Res Lab, Stennis Space Ctr, MS USA.
4 : Polar Sci Ltd, Appin, Scotland.
5 : Univ Cambridge, Dept Appl Math & Theoret Phys, Cambridge, England.
Source Journal Of Geophysical Research-oceans (2169-9275) (Amer Geophysical Union), 2018-06 , Vol. 123 , N. 6 , P. 4132-4152
DOI 10.1029/2018JC013785
WOS© Times Cited 15
Note This article also appears in: Sea State and Boundary Layer Physics of the Emerging Arctic Ocean
Keyword(s) surface waves, marginal ice zone, wave attenuation, wave growth rate, air-sea-ice, airborne scanning lidar

Airborne scanning lidar was used to measure the evolution of the surface wave field in the marginal ice zone (MIZ) during two separate wave events in the Beaufort Sea in October 2015. The lidar data consisted of a 2‐D field of surface elevation with horizontal resolutions between 17 and 33 cm, over a swath approximately 150‐220 m wide, centred on the ground track of the aircraft. Those data were used to compute directional wavenumber spectra of the surface wave field. Comparison with nearly collocated buoy data found the lidar and buoy measurements to be generally consistent. During the first event, waves travelling from open water into the ice were attenuated by the ice. The low spectral spreading and k7/4 spectral dependence of the attenuation was consistent with dissipative models that treat sea ice as a highly viscous fluid floating on a less viscous ocean. Upper‐ocean eddy viscosities calculated using that model were found to be significantly lower than those from previous work. The second event was in off‐ice winds and cold temperatures, allowing measurement of the wave fetch relation in ice‐forming conditions. The wave growth rate was found to be slightly higher than previous measurements under unstable atmospheric conditions without ice formation. Comparison with WAVEWATCH III model output highlighted the importance of accurate ice information and fine geographic computational resolution when making predictions near the ice edge. Finally, the very short scales over which the wave field was observed to evolve in the MIZ are discussed.

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