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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

More Info

31 Oct 2016

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.

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.

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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

More Projects

Publications

2000-present and while at APL-UW

The evolution of a shallow front in the Arctic marginal ice zone

Brenner, S., L. Rainville, J. Thomson, and C. Lee, "The evolution of a shallow front in the Arctic marginal ice zone," Elem. Sci. Anth., 8, doi:10.1525/elementa.413, 2020.

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4 May 2020

The high degree of heterogeneity in the ice–ocean–atmosphere system in marginal ice zones leads to a complex set of dynamics which control fluxes of heat and buoyancy in the upper ocean. Strong fronts may occur near the ice edge between the warmer waters of the ice-free regions and the cold, fresh waters near and under the ice. This study presents observations of a well-defined density front located along the ice edge in the Beaufort Sea. The evolution of the front over a ~3-day survey period is captured by multiple cross-front sections measured using an underway conductivity–temperature–depth system, with simultaneous measurements of atmospheric forcing. Synthetic aperture radar images bookending this period show that the ice edge itself underwent concurrent evolution. Prior to the survey, the ice edge was compact and well defined while after the survey it was diffuse and filamented with coherent vortical structures. This transformation might be indicative of the development an active ocean eddy field in the upper ocean mixed layer. Over the course of hours, increasing wind stress is correlated with changes to the lateral buoyancy gradient and frontogenesis. Frontal dynamics appear to vary from typical open-ocean fronts (e.g., here the frontogenesis is linked to an "up-front" wind stress). Convective and shear-driven mixing appear to be unable to describe deepening at the heel of the front. While there was no measurable spatial variation in wind speed, we hypothesize that spatial heterogeneity in the total surface stress input, resulting from varying ice conditions across the marginal ice zone, may be a driver of the observed behaviour.

Novel and flexible approach to access the open ocean: Uses of sailing research vessel Lady Amber during SPURS-2

Rainville, L., L.R. Centurioni, W.E. Asher, C.A. Clayson, K. Drushka, J.B. Edson, B.A. Hodges, V. Hormann, J.T. Farai, J.J. Schanze, and A.Y. Shcherbina, "Novel and flexible approach to access the open ocean: Uses of sailing research vessel Lady Amber during SPURS-2," Oceanography, 32, 116-121, doi:10.5670/oceanog.2019.219, 2019.

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14 Jun 2019

SPURS-2 (Salinity Processes in the Upper-ocean Regional Study 2) used the schooner Lady Amber, a small sailing research vessel, to deploy, service, maintain, and recover a variety of oceanographic and meteorological instruments in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Low operational costs allowed us to frequently deploy floats and drifters to collect data necessary for resolving the regional circulation of the eastern tropical Pacific. The small charter gave us the opportunity to deploy drifters in locations chosen according to current conditions, to recover and deploy various autonomous instruments in a targeted and adaptive manner, and to collect additional near-surface and atmospheric measurements in the remote SPURS-2 region.

Overview of the Arctic Sea State and Boundary Layer Physics Program

Thomson, J., and 32 others, including L. Rainville, and M. Smith, "Overview of the Arctic Sea State and Boundary Layer Physics Program," J. Geophys. Res., 123, 8674-8687, doi:10.1002/2018JC013766, 2018.

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1 Dec 2018

A large collaborative program has studied the coupled air‐ice‐ocean‐wave processes occurring in the Arctic during the autumn ice advance. The program included a field campaign in the western Arctic during the autumn of 2015, with in situ data collection and both aerial and satellite remote sensing. Many of the analyses have focused on using and improving forecast models. Summarizing and synthesizing the results from a series of separate papers, the overall view is of an Arctic shifting to a more seasonal system. The dramatic increase in open water extent and duration in the autumn means that large surface waves and significant surface heat fluxes are now common. When refreezing finally does occur, it is a highly variable process in space and time. Wind and wave events drive episodic advances and retreats of the ice edge, with associated variations in sea ice formation types (e.g., pancakes, nilas). This variability becomes imprinted on the winter ice cover, which in turn affects the melt season the following year.

More Publications

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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