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Cecilia Peralta Ferriz

Senior Oceanographer





Department Affiliation

Polar Science Center


B.S. Oceanography, Universidad Autonoma de Baja California, 2004

M.S. Physical Oceanography, University of Washington, 2008

Ph.D. Physical Oceanography, University of Washington, 2012


2000-present and while at APL-UW

A red tide in the pack ice of the Arctic Ocean

Olsen, L.M., and 13 others including C. Peralta-Ferriz, "A red tide in the pack ice of the Arctic Ocean," Sci. Rep., 9, 9536, doi:0.1038/s41598-019-45935-0, 2019.

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2 Jul 2019

In the Arctic Ocean ice algae constitute a key ecosystem component and the ice algal spring bloom a critical event in the annual production cycle. The bulk of ice algal biomass is usually found in the bottom few cm of the sea ice and dominated by pennate diatoms attached to the ice matrix. Here we report a red tide of the phototrophic ciliate Mesodinium rubrum located at the ice–water interface of newly formed pack ice of the high Arctic in early spring. These planktonic ciliates are not able to attach to the ice. Based on observations and theory of fluid dynamics, we propose that convection caused by brine rejection in growing sea ice enabled M. rubrum to bloom at the ice–water interface despite the relative flow between water and ice. We argue that red tides of M. rubrum are more likely to occur under the thinning Arctic sea ice regime.

Freshwater export in the East Greenland Current freshens the North Atlantic

de Steur, L., C. Peralta-Ferriz, and O. Pavlova, "Freshwater export in the East Greenland Current freshens the North Atlantic," Geophys. Res. Lett., 45, 13359-13366, doi:10.1029/2018GL080207, 2018.

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28 Dec 2018

Arctic Ocean freshwater content increased in the 2000s. Since variations in freshwater input into the North Atlantic Ocean can modify its properties, monitoring the freshwater export from the Arctic Ocean to southern latitudes is critical. The Arctic Outflow Observatory in Fram Strait has collected continuous ocean measurements from moored platforms since 1997. Here new and improved records of freshwater transport from the mooring array are presented until 2015, showing that, since the last documented record in 2009, the freshwater export was substantially larger from 2010 to 2013. The increase was mostly due to increased southward flow, and secondly due to low salinities. While sea level pressure gradient across the strait explains seasonal variability, it does not explain the observed freshwater anomaly. The cumulative freshwater anomaly between 2010 and 2014 amounted to 3,684 km3, representing a significant external source of freshwater to the North Atlantic.

Sea state bias of ICESat in the subarctic seas

Morison, J., R. Kwok, S. Dickinson, D. Morison, C. Peralta-Ferriz, and R. Andersen, "Sea state bias of ICESat in the subarctic seas," IEEE Geosci. Remote Sens. Lett., 15, 1144-1148, doi:10.1109/LGRS.2018.2834362, 2018.

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1 Aug 2018

The fine spatial resolution of laser altimeters makes them potentially valuable to oceanography studying features at mesoscale, close to land, and in the marginal ice zone. To fulfill this promise, we must understand laser sea state bias (SSB). SSB occurs in the measurement of sea surface height in the presence of waves when the altimeter observations are preferentially influenced by particular parts (e.g., wave troughs) of the wave-covered surface. Radar altimeters have received considerable attention relating radar SSB to wave properties and wind speed. Comparatively, little attention has been devoted to the SSB of laser altimeters, and the studies of laser SSB which have been done have led to indeterminate or ambiguous results even as to sign. Here, we find that to make changes in satellite dynamic ocean topography (DOT) from the Ice, Clouds, and Land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) period, 2004–2009, to the CryoSat-2 period, 2011–2015, consistent with hydrography plus ocean bottom pressure in the subarctic Greenland and Norwegian seas, we need to correct the ICESat DOT for SSB. On average, ICESat SSB is –18% of significant wave height in excess of 1.7 m.

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