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John Guthrie

Research Associate





Department Affiliation

Polar Science Center


2000-present and while at APL-UW

Competing effects of elevated vertical mixing and increased freshwater input on the stratification and sea ice cover in the changing Arctic Ocean

Davis, P.E.D., C. Lique, H.L. Johnson, and J.D. Guthrie, "Competing effects of elevated vertical mixing and increased freshwater input on the stratification and sea ice cover in the changing Arctic Ocean," J. Phys. Oceanogr., 46, 1531-1553, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-15-0174.1, 2016.

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1 May 2016

The Arctic Ocean is undergoing a period of rapid transition. Freshwater input is projected to increase, and the decline in Arctic sea ice is likely to drive periodic increases in vertical mixing during ice-free periods. Here, a 1D model of the Arctic Ocean is used to explore how these competing processes will affect the stratification, the stability of the cold halocline, and the sea ice cover at the surface. Initially, stronger shear leads to elevated vertical mixing that causes the mixed layer to warm. The change in temperature, however, is too small to affect the sea ice cover. Most importantly, in the Eurasian Basin, the elevated shear also deepens the halocline and strengthens the stratification over the Atlantic Water thermocline, reducing the vertical heat flux. After about a decade this effect dominates, and the mixed layer begins to cool. The sea ice cover can only be significantly affected if the elevated mixing is sufficient to erode the stratification barrier associated with the cold halocline. While freshwater generally dominates in the Canadian Basin (further isolating the mixed layer from the Atlantic Water layer), in the Eurasian Basin elevated shear reduces the strength of the stratification barrier, potentially allowing Atlantic Water heat to be directly entrained into the mixed layer during episodic mixing events. Therefore, although most sea ice retreat to date has occurred in the Canadian Basin, the results here suggest that, in future decades, elevated vertical mixing may play a more significant role in sea ice melt in the Eurasian Basin.

Observational validation of the diffusive convective flux laws in the Amundsen Basin, Arctic Ocean

Guthrie, J.D., I. Fer, and J. Morison, "Observational validation of the diffusive convective flux laws in the Amundsen Basin, Arctic Ocean," J. Geophys. Res., 120, 7880-7896, doi:10.1002/2015JC010884, 2015.

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1 Dec 2015

The low levels of mechanically driven mixing in many regions of the Arctic Ocean make double diffusive convection virtually the only mechanism for moving heat up from the core of Atlantic Water towards the surface. In an attempt to quantify double diffusive heat fluxes in the Arctic Ocean, a temperature microstructure experiment was performed as a part of the North Pole Environmental Observatory (NPEO) 2013 field season from the drifting ice station Barneo located in the Amundsen Basin near the Lomonosov Ridge (89.5°N, 75°W). A diffusive convective thermohaline staircase was present between 150 and 250 m in nearly all of the profiles. Typical vertical heat fluxes across the high-gradient interfaces were consistently small, O(10-1) W m-2. Our experiment was designed to resolve the staircase and differed from earlier Arctic studies that utilized inadequate instrumentation or sampling. Our measured fluxes from temperature microstructure agree well with the laboratory derived flux laws compared to previous studies, which could find agreement only to within a factor of two to four. Correlations between measured and parameterized heat fluxes are slightly higher when using the more recent Flanagan et al. [2013] laboratory derivation than the more commonly used derivation presented in Kelley [1990]. Nusselt versus Rayleigh number scaling reveals the convective exponent to be closer to 0.29 as predicted by recent numerical simulations of single-component convection rather than the canonical 1/3 assumed for double diffusion. However, the exponent appears to be sensitive to how convective layer height is defined.

Acoustics Air-Sea Interaction & Remote Sensing Center for Environmental & Information Systems Center for Industrial & Medical Ultrasound Electronic & Photonic Systems Ocean Engineering Ocean Physics Polar Science Center