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Kyla Drushka

Principal Oceanographer

Affiliate Assistant Professor, Oceanography






B.S. Physics, McGill University, 2004

Ph.D. Physical Oceanography, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, 2011


2000-present and while at APL-UW

California wildfire burns boundaries between science and art

Bisson, K.M, and 20 others including P. Gaube and K. Drushka, "California wildfire burns boundaries between science and art," Oceanography, 33, 16-19, doi:10.5670/oceanog.2020.110, 2020.

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1 Mar 2020

Results from our 2017 cruise to the Santa Barbara Channel illustrate the value that student leadership training can bring to ocean science. The Across the Channel: Investigating Diel Dynamics (ACIDD) mission, conducted from December 16 to 22, 2017, aboard R/V Sally Ride, was led by two PhD students as co-principal investigators and chief scientists (authors Bisson and Baetge). The 21-​member science team was composed almost entirely of our graduate student peers at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), as well as three artists. As an integrated team, we conceived, adapted, and executed research cruise plans and developed far-​reaching connections with the public based on our coupled artistic-​oceanographic pursuit.

Intense and small freshwater pools from rainfall investigated during SPURS-2 on 9 November 2017 in the eastern tropical Pacific

Reverdin, G., A. Supply, K. Drushka, E.J. Thompson, W.E. Asher, and A. Lourenço, "Intense and small freshwater pools from rainfall investigated during SPURS-2 on 9 November 2017 in the eastern tropical Pacific," J. Geophys. Res., 125, doi:10.1029/2019JC015558, 2020.

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1 Feb 2020

During the second Salinity Processes in the Upper Ocean Regional Study (SPURS‐2) 2017 tropical Pacific cruise, two drifters were deployed on 9 November. The drifters measured temperature and salinity in the top 36 cm, wave spectra, and the noise of rain drops. During a short nearly circular survey with a 1.8‐km radius around the drifters, the R/V Revelle measured air–sea fluxes, as well as temperature and salinity stratification in the top 1 m from a towed surface salinity profiler (SSP). A C‐band weather radar measuring rain rate within 1‐ to 100‐km range of the ship observed discrete rain cells organized in a system moving from the southeast to the northwest. Some of the intense rain cells were small scale (1 km in diameter or less) with short lifetimes yet dropped more than 5 cm of water in half an hour near the drifters, whereas the ship measured short rain episodes totaling 1.3 cm of rainfall mostly accompanied by very low wind. The data indicate a large spatial heterogeneity in temperature and salinity, with near‐surface freshening of up to 9 psu measured at different times by the two drifters (separated by less than 500 m) and by the SSP. The drifters indicate deepening of the fresh and cool surface layer during the rain, which then thinned during the following 40 min with very low wind speed (<2 m/s). Patchy surface‐trapped cold and fresh layers were also observed by the SSP east of the drifters. The high spatial and temporal variability of rainfall and surface‐trapped fresh pools is discussed.

Salinity Rain Impact Model (RIM) for SMAP

Jacob, M.M., W.L. Jones, A. Santos-Garcia, K. Drushka, W.E. Asher, and C.M. Scavuzzo, "Salinity Rain Impact Model (RIM) for SMAP," IEEE J. Sel. Top. Appl. Earth Obs. Remote Sens., 12, 16-79-1687, doi:10.1109/JSTARS.2019.2907275, 2019.

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15 Jul 2019

When oceanic rainfall occurs, it creates a vertical salinity profile that is fresher at the surface. This freshwater lens is mixed downward by turbulent diffusion, dissipating over a few hours until the upper layer (1–5 m depth) becomes well mixed. Thus, there will be a transient bias between the in situ bulk salinity and the satellite-measured sea surface salinity (SSS) (representative of the first centimeter of the ocean depth). Based on measurements of Aquarius (AQ) SSS under rainy conditions, a model called rain impact model (RIM) was developed to assess the SSS variations due to the accumulation of rainfall prior to the time of the AQ observation. RIM uses ocean surface salinities from hybrid coordinate ocean model and the NOAA global precipitation product, climate prediction center morphing, to estimate changes in the near-surface salinity profile. Also, the RIM analysis has been applied to soil moisture and ocean salinity with similar results observed. The Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite carries an L-band radiometer, which measures SSS over a swath of 1000 km at 40-km resolution. SMAP can extend AQ salinity data record with improved temporal/spatial sampling. This paper describes RIM that simulates the effects of rain accumulation on SMAP SSS, showing good correlation between the model and the observed SSS values. Given the better resolution of SMAP, the goal of this paper is to continue the previous analysis of AQ to better understand the effects of the instantaneous and accumulated rain on the salinity measurements.

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Continuous Underway Multi-sensor Profiler

Record of Invention Number: 48207

Peter Gaube, Kyla Drushka


15 Nov 2017

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