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John Guthrie

Postdoctoral Scholar





Department Affiliation

Polar Science Center


B.S. Mathematics, University of Puget Sound, 2002

M.S. Physical Oceanography, University of Washington - Seattle, 2012

Ph.D. Physical Oceanography, University of Washington - Seattle, 2016


2000-present and while at APL-UW

The cyclonic mode of Arctic Ocean circulation

Morison, J., R. Kwok, S. Dickinson, R. Andersen, C. Peralta-Ferriz, D. Morison, I. Rigor, S. Dewey, and J. Guthrie, "The cyclonic mode of Arctic Ocean circulation," J. Phys. Oceanogr., EOR, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-20-0190.1, 2021.

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20 Jan 2021

Arctic Ocean surface circulation change should not be viewed as the strength of the anticyclonic Beaufort Gyre. While the Beaufort Gyre is a dominant feature of average Arctic Ocean surface circulation, empirical orthogonal function analysis of dynamic height (1950–1989) and satellite altimetry-derived dynamic ocean topography (2004–-2019) show the primary pattern of variability in its cyclonic mode is dominated by a depression of the sea surface and cyclonic surface circulation on the Russian side of the Arctic Ocean. Changes in surface circulation after AO maxima in 1989 and 2007–08 and after an AO minimum in 2010, indicate the cyclonic mode is forced by the Arctic Oscillation (AO) with a lag of about one year. Associated with a one standard deviation increase in the average AO starting in the early 1990s, Arctic Ocean surface circulation underwent a cyclonic shift evidenced by increased spatial-average vorticity. Under increased AO, the cyclonic mode complex also includes increased export of sea ice and near-surface freshwater, a changed path of Eurasian runoff, a freshened Beaufort Sea, and weakened cold halocline layer that insulates sea ice from Atlantic water heat, an impact compounded by increased Atlantic Water inflow and cyclonic circulation at depth. The cyclonic mode's connection with the AO is important because the AO is a major global scale climate index predicted to increase with global warming. Given the present bias in concentration of in situ measurements in the Beaufort Gyre and Transpolar Drift, a coordinated effort should be made to better observe the cyclonic mode.

Greater role for Atlantic inflows on sea-ice loss in the Eurasian Basin of the Arctic Ocean

Polyakov, I.V., and 15 others including M.B. Alkire, J. Guthrie, and J. Morison, "Greater role for Atlantic inflows on sea-ice loss in the Eurasian Basin of the Arctic Ocean," Science, doi: 10.1126/science.aai8204, 2017.

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6 Apr 2017

Arctic sea-ice loss is a leading indicator of climate change and can be attributed, in large part, to atmospheric forcing. Here, we show that recent ice reductions, weakening of the halocline, and shoaling of intermediate-depth Atlantic Water layer in the eastern Eurasian Basin have increased winter ventilation in the ocean interior, making this region structurally similar to that of the western Eurasian Basin. The associated enhanced release of oceanic heat has reduced winter sea-ice formation at a rate now comparable to losses from atmospheric thermodynamic forcing, thus explaining the recent reduction in sea-ice cover in the eastern Eurasian Basin. This encroaching “atlantification” of the Eurasian Basin represents an essential step toward a new Arctic climate state, with a substantially greater role for Atlantic inflows.

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.

More Publications

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