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Luc Rainville

Principal Oceanographer

Affiliate Assistant Professor, Oceanography

Email

rainville@apl.washington.edu

Phone

206-685-4058

Biosketch

Dr. Rainville's research interests reside primarily in observational physical oceanography and span the wide range of spatial and temporal scales in the ocean. From large-scale circulation to internal waves to turbulence, the projects he is involved in focus on the interactions between phenomena of different scales. He is motivated to find simple and innovative ways to study the ocean, primarily through sea-going oceanography but also using with remote sensing and modeling.

In particular, Luc Rainville is interested in how phenomena typically considered 'small-scale' impact the oceanic system as a whole.

* Propagation of internal waves through eddies and fronts.
* Water mass formation and transformation by episodic forcing events.
* Mixing and internal waves in the Arctic and in the Southern Ocean.


Dr. Rainville joined the Ocean Physics Department at APL-UW at the end of 2007.

Department Affiliation

Ocean Physics

Education

B.Sc. Physics, McGill University, 1998

Ph.D. Oceanography, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, 2004

Projects

Stratified Ocean Dynamics of the Arctic — SODA

Vertical and lateral water properties and density structure with the Arctic Ocean are intimately related to the ocean circulation, and have profound consequences for sea ice growth and retreat as well as for prpagation of acoustic energy at all scales. Our current understanding of the dynamics governing arctic upper ocean stratification and circulation derives largely from a period when extensive ice cover modulated the oceanic response to atmospheric forcing. Recently, however, there has been significant arctic warming, accompanied by changes in the extent, thickness distribution, and properties of the arctic sea ice cover. The need to understand these changes and their impact on arctic stratification and circulation, sea ice evolution, and the acoustic environment motivate this initiative.

31 Oct 2016

The Submesoscale Cascade in the South China Sea

This research program is investigating the evolution of submesoscale eddies and filaments in the Kuroshio-influenced region off the southwest coast of Taiwan.

More Info

26 Aug 2015

Science questions:
1. What role does the Kuroshio play in generating mesoscale and submesoscale variability modeled/observed off the SW coast of Taiwan?
2. How does this vary with atmospheric forcing?
3. How do these features evolve in response to wintertime (strong) atmospheric forcing?
4. What role do these dynamics play in driving water mass evolution and interior stratification in the South China Sea?
5. What role do these dynamics/features have on the transition of water masses from northern SCS water into the Kuroshio branch water/current and local flow patterns?

Salinity Processes in the Upper Ocean Regional Study — SPURS

The NASA SPURS research effort is actively addressing the essential role of the ocean in the global water cycle by measuring salinity and accumulating other data to improve our basic understanding of the ocean's water cycle and its ties to climate.

15 Apr 2015

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Publications

2000-present and while at APL-UW

Generation of low-latitude seamount-trapped waves: A case study of the Seychelles Plateau

Arzeno-Soltero, I.B., S.N. Giddings, G. Pawlak, J.L. McClean, H. Wang, L. Rainville, and C.M. Lee, "Generation of low-latitude seamount-trapped waves: A case study of the Seychelles Plateau," J. Geophys. Res., 126, doi:10.1029/2021JC017234, 2021.

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1 Aug 2021

Baroclinic seamount-trapped waves are thought to influence their surrounding ecosystem; however, trapped waves are not well-studied in near-equatorial settings, where stratification is strong and Burger numbers are large. Motivated by observations, we use daily output (2005–2009) from the global 0.1° Parallel Ocean Program Model (POP) to examine topographically trapped baroclinic waves around the Seychelles Plateau in the tropical Indian Ocean. These trapped waves are associated with velocity and temperature oscillations at periods of 15–16 days, similar to the dominant period of some equatorial Yanai waves. Energy flux maps using POP output suggest that quasi-biweekly equatorial Yanai waves excite trapped waves on the western and south-western flanks of the Seychelles Plateau, near the surface. The anticyclonic energy flux associated with the trapped wave extends vertically throughout the water column and around most of the plateau circumference, diminishing on the eastern flank of the plateau. This work highlights the role that equatorial planetary waves and trapped waves play in facilitating energy redistribution, dissipation, and mixing in the tropical ocean.

Bay of Bengal intraseasonal oscillations and the 2018 monsoon onset

Shroyer, E., and 49 others including C. Lee and L. Rainville, "Bay of Bengal intraseasonal oscillations and the 2018 monsoon onset," Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc., EOR, doi:10.1175/BAMS-D-20-0113.1, 2021.

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21 May 2021

In the Bay of Bengal, the warm, dry boreal spring concludes with the onset of the summer monsoon and accompanying southwesterly winds, heavy rains, and variable air-sea fluxes. Here, we summarize the 2018 monsoon onset using observations collected through the multinational Monsoon Intraseasonal Oscillations in the Bay of Bengal (MISO-BoB) program between the US, India, and Sri Lanka. MISO-BoB aims to improve understanding of monsoon intraseasonal variability, and the 2018 field effort captured the coupled air-sea response during a transition from active-to-break conditions in the central BoB. The active phase of the ~20-day research cruise was characterized by warm sea surface temperature (SST > 30°C), cold atmospheric outflows with intermittent heavy rainfall, and increasing winds (from 2 to 15 m s-1). Accumulated rainfall exceeded 200 mm with 90% of precipitation occurring during the first week. The following break period was both dry and clear, with persistent 10–12 m s-1 wind and evaporation of 0.2 mm h-1. The evolving environmental state included a deepening ocean mixed layer (from ~20 to 50 m), cooling SST (by ~ 1°C), and warming/drying of the lower to mid-troposphere. Local atmospheric development was consistent with phasing of the large-scale intraseasonal oscillation. The upper ocean stores significant heat in the BoB, enough to maintain SST above 29°C despite cooling by surface fluxes and ocean mixing. Comparison with reanalysis indicates biases in air-sea fluxes, which may be related to overly cool prescribed SST. Resolution of such biases offers a path toward improved forecasting of transition periods in the monsoon.

A warm jet in a cold ocean

MacKinnon, J.A., and 28 others including J. Thomson, S.D. Brenner, C.M. Lee, L. Rainville, and M.M. Smith, "A warm jet in a cold ocean," Nat. Commun., 12, doi:10.1038/s41467-021-22505-5, 2021.

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23 Apr 2021

Unprecedented quantities of heat are entering the Pacific sector of the Arctic Ocean through Bering Strait, particularly during summer months. Though some heat is lost to the atmosphere during autumn cooling, a significant fraction of the incoming warm, salty water subducts (dives beneath) below a cooler fresher layer of near-surface water, subsequently extending hundreds of kilometers into the Beaufort Gyre. Upward turbulent mixing of these sub-surface pockets of heat is likely accelerating sea ice melt in the region. This Pacific-origin water brings both heat and unique biogeochemical properties, contributing to a changing Arctic ecosystem. However, our ability to understand or forecast the role of this incoming water mass has been hampered by lack of understanding of the physical processes controlling subduction and evolution of this this warm water. Crucially, the processes seen here occur at small horizontal scales not resolved by regional forecast models or climate simulations; new parameterizations must be developed that accurately represent the physics. Here we present novel high resolution observations showing the detailed process of subduction and initial evolution of warm Pacific-origin water in the southern Beaufort Gyre.

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Inventions

Temperature Microstructure Instrument Controller Logger

Record of Invention Number: 47906

Luc Rainville, Jason Gobat, Adam Huxtable, Geoff Shilling

Disclosure

6 Dec 2016

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
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