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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

Turbulence within rain-formed fresh lenses during the SPURS-2 Experiment

Iyer, S., and K. Drushka, "Turbulence within rain-formed fresh lenses during the SPURS-2 Experiment," J. Phys. Oceanogr., 51, 1705–1721, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-20-0303.1, 2021.

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1 May 2021

Observations of salinity, temperature, and turbulent dissipation rate were made in the top meter of the ocean using the ship-towed Surface Salinity Profiler as part of the second Salinity Processes in the Upper Ocean Regional Study (SPURS-2) to assess the relationships between wind, rain, near-surface stratification, and turbulence. A wide range of wind and rain conditions were observed in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean near 10°N, 125°W in summer–autumn 2016 and 2017. Wind was the primary driver of near-surface turbulence and the mixing of rain-formed fresh lenses, with lenses generally persisting for hours when wind speeds were under 5 m s-1 and mixing away immediately at higher wind speeds. Rain influenced near-surface turbulence primarily through stratification. Near-surface stratification caused by rainfall or diurnal warming suppressed deeper turbulent dissipation rates when wind speeds were under 3 m s-1. In one case with 4–5 m s-1 winds, rain-induced stratification enhanced dissipation rates within the stratified layer. At wind speeds above 7–8 m s-1, strong stratification was not observed in the upper meter during rain, indicating that rain lenses do not form at wind speeds above 8 m s-1. Raindrop impacts enhanced turbulent dissipation rates at these high wind speeds in the absence of near-surface stratification. Measurements of air-sea buoyancy flux, wind speed, and near-surface turbulence can be used to predict the presence of stratified layers. These findings could be used to improve model parameterizations of air-sea interactions and, ultimately, our understanding of the global water cycle.

Measurements from the RV Ronald H. Brown and related platforms as part of the Atlantic Tradewind Ocean-Atmosphere Mesoscale Interaction Campaign (ATOMIC)

Quinn, P.K., and 34 others including K. Drushka, S. Iyer, and J. Thomson, "Measurements from the RV Ronald H. Brown and related platforms as part of the Atlantic Tradewind Ocean-Atmosphere Mesoscale Interaction Campaign (ATOMIC)," Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 13, 1759-1790, doi:10.5194/essd-13-1759-2021, 2021.

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29 Apr 2021

The Atlantic Tradewind Ocean-Atmosphere Mesoscale Interaction Campaign (ATOMIC) took place from 7 January to 11 July 2020 in the tropical North Atlantic between the eastern edge of Barbados and 51°W, the longitude of the Northwest Tropical Atlantic Station (NTAS) mooring. Measurements were made to gather information on shallow atmospheric convection, the effects of aerosols and clouds on the ocean surface energy budget, and mesoscale oceanic processes. Multiple platforms were deployed during ATOMIC including the NOAA RV Ronald H. Brown (RHB) (7 January to 13 February) and WP-3D Orion (P-3) aircraft (17 January to 10 February), the University of Colorado's Robust Autonomous Aerial Vehicle-Endurant Nimble (RAAVEN) uncrewed aerial system (UAS) (24 January to 15 February), NOAA- and NASA-sponsored Saildrones (12 January to 11 July), and Surface Velocity Program Salinity (SVPS) surface ocean drifters (23 January to 29 April). The RV Ronald H. Brown conducted in situ and remote sensing measurements of oceanic and atmospheric properties with an emphasis on mesoscale oceanic–atmospheric coupling and aerosol–cloud interactions. In addition, the ship served as a launching pad for Wave Gliders, Surface Wave Instrument Floats with Tracking (SWIFTs), and radiosondes. Details of measurements made from the RV Ronald H. Brown, ship-deployed assets, and other platforms closely coordinated with the ship during ATOMIC are provided here. These platforms include Saildrone 1064 and the RAAVEN UAS as well as the Barbados Cloud Observatory (BCO) and Barbados Atmospheric Chemistry Observatory (BACO). Inter-platform comparisons are presented to assess consistency in the data sets. Data sets from the RV Ronald H. Brown and deployed assets have been quality controlled and are publicly available at NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) data archive (https://www.ncei.noaa.gov/archive/accession/ATOMIC-2020, last access: 2 April 2021). Point-of-contact information and links to individual data sets with digital object identifiers (DOIs) are provided herein.

Lagrangian reconstruction to extract small-scale salinity variability from SMAP observations

Barceló-Llull, B., K. Drushka, and P. Gaube, "Lagrangian reconstruction to extract small-scale salinity variability from SMAP observations," J. Geophys. Res., 126, doi:10.1029/2020JC016477, 2021.

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1 Mar 2021

As the resolution of observations and models improves, emerging evidence indicates that ocean variability on 1–200 km scales is of fundamental importance to ocean circulation, air‐sea interaction, and biogeochemistry. In many regions, salinity variability dominates over thermal effects in forming density fronts. Unfortunately, current satellite observations of sea surface salinity (SSS) only resolve scales ࣙ40 km (or larger, depending on the product). In this study we investigate small‐scale variability (ࣘ25 km) by reconstructing gridded SSS observations made by the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite in the northwest Atlantic Ocean. Using altimetric geostrophic currents, we numerically advect SMAP SSS fields to produce a Lagrangian reconstruction that represents small scales. Reconstructed fields are compared to in situ salinity observations made by a ship‐board thermosalinograph, revealing a marked improvement in small‐scale salinity variability when compared to the original SMAP fields, particularly from the continental shelf to the Gulf Stream. In the Sargasso Sea, however, both SMAP and the reconstructed fields contain higher variability than is observed in situ. Enhanced small‐scale salinity variability is concentrated in two bands: a northern band aligned with the continental shelfbreak, and a southern band aligned with the Gulf Stream mean position. Seasonal differences in the small‐scale variability appear to covary with the seasonal cycle of the large‐scale SSS gradients resulting from the freshening of the coastal waters during periods of elevated river outflow.

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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