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Suneil Iyer

Graduate Research Student Assistant




2000-present and while at APL-UW

Variations in wave slope and momentum flux from wave–current interactions in the tropical trade winds

Iyer, S., J. Thomson, E. Thompson, and K. Drushka, "Variations in wave slope and momentum flux from wave–current interactions in the tropical trade winds," J. Geophys. Res., 127, doi:10.1029/2021JC018003, 2022.

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1 Mar 2022

Observations from six Lagrangian Surface Wave Instrument Float with Tracking drifters in January–February 2020 in the northwestern tropical Atlantic during the Atlantic Tradewind Ocean–atmosphere Mesoscale Interaction Campaign are used to evaluate the influence of wave–current interactions on wave slope and momentum flux. At observed wind speeds of 4––12 ms-1, wave mean square slopes are positively correlated with wind speed. Wave-relative surface currents varied significantly, from opposing the wave direction at 0.24 ms-1 to following the waves at 0.47 ms-1. Wave slopes are 5%–10% higher when surface currents oppose the waves compared to when currents strongly follow the waves, consistent with a conservation of wave energy flux across gradients in currents. Assuming an equilibrium frequency range in the wave spectrum, wave slope is proportional to wind friction velocity and momentum flux. The observed variation in wave slope equates to a 10%–20% variation in momentum flux over the range of observed wind speeds (4–12 ms-1), with larger variations at higher winds. At wind speeds over 8 ms-1, momentum flux varies by at least 6% more than the variation expected from current-relative winds alone, and suggests that wave-current interactions can generate significant spatial and temporal variability in momentum fluxes in this region of prevailing trade winds. Results and data from this study motivate the continued development of fully coupled atmosphere-ocean-wave models.

The influence of preexisting stratification and tropical rain modes on the mixed layer salinity response to rainfall

Iyer, S., and K. Drushka, "The influence of preexisting stratification and tropical rain modes on the mixed layer salinity response to rainfall," J. Geophys. Res., 126, doi:10.1029/2021JC017574, 2021.

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1 Oct 2021

The freshwater input from rain to the surface ocean is a key component of the global water cycle. Frequent rainfall in the inter-tropical convergence zone creates regions of strong surface stratification and low salinity, which vary seasonally. We evaluate how variations in rain type and preexisting upper ocean stratification influence the timing and duration of the salinity response to rainfall using the General Ocean Turbulence Model. A series of model simulations was run by prescribing three typical background stratification conditions and idealized rain and wind forcing that was consistent with observed convective, stratiform, and mixed convective and stratiform rainfall. Background stratification was assessed using underway CTD observations and rain forcing was identified from mooring observations collected in the eastern tropical Pacific during the second Salinity Processes in the Upper Ocean Regional Study. Model results show that strong stratification, whether preexisting or from convective rainfall, inhibits downward mixing of freshwater and allows near-surface salinity anomalies to persist following rain. In contrast, when stratiform rain precedes convective rain, salinity anomalies are quickly mixed downward and longer lasting deeper in the mixed layer. This implies that accurately quantifying the salinity structure following rain should consider preexisting stratification and the type of rainfall. Furthermore, patterns of rainfall and stratification likely affect the bias between salinity observations at the surface and deeper in the mixed layer. Because satellite rain data do not correctly represent the small scales of rain forcing, the small-scale surface salinity response to rain cannot be predicted from satellite data.


Stevens, B., and many others including K. Drushka, S. Iyer, and J. Thomson, "EUREC4A," Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 13, 4067-4119, doi:10.5194/essd-13-4067-2021, 2021.

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25 Aug 2021

The science guiding the EUREC4A campaign and its measurements is presented. EUREC4A comprised roughly 5 weeks of measurements in the downstream winter trades of the North Atlantic — eastward and southeastward of Barbados. Through its ability to characterize processes operating across a wide range of scales, EUREC4A marked a turning point in our ability to observationally study factors influencing clouds in the trades, how they will respond to warming, and their link to other components of the earth system, such as upper-ocean processes or the life cycle of particulate matter. This characterization was made possible by thousands (2500) of sondes distributed to measure circulations on meso- (200 km) and larger (500 km) scales, roughly 400 h of flight time by four heavily instrumented research aircraft; four global-class research vessels; an advanced ground-based cloud observatory; scores of autonomous observing platforms operating in the upper ocean (nearly 10 000 profiles), lower atmosphere (continuous profiling), and along the air–sea interface; a network of water stable isotopologue measurements; targeted tasking of satellite remote sensing; and modeling with a new generation of weather and climate models. In addition to providing an outline of the novel measurements and their composition into a unified and coordinated campaign, the six distinct scientific facets that EUREC4A explored — from North Brazil Current rings to turbulence-induced clustering of cloud droplets and its influence on warm-rain formation — are presented along with an overview of EUREC4A's outreach activities, environmental impact, and guidelines for scientific practice. Track data for all platforms are standardized and accessible at https://doi.org/10.25326/165 (Stevens, 2021), and a film documenting the campaign is provided as a video supplement.

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