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Andrey Shcherbina

Principal Oceanographer

Affiliate Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering





Department Affiliation

Ocean Physics


M.S. Physical Oceanography, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, 1998

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

Andrey Shcherbina's Website



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

Lateral Mixing

Small scale eddies and internal waves in the ocean mix water masses laterally, as well as vertically. This multi-investigator project aims to study the physics of this mixing by combining dye dispersion studies with detailed measurements of the velocity, temperature and salinity field during field experiments in 2011 and 2012.

1 Sep 2012

APL-UW Involvement in the Coastal Margin Observation and Prediction Science and Technology Center (CMOP)

AUVs will be deployed by a newly formed APL-UW AUV group as part of CMOP's experimental observation network which consists of multiple fixed and mobile platforms equipped with oceanographic sensors.

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15 Jun 2012

The Center for Coastal Margin Observation and Predication (CMOP) has purchased from Hydroid, LLC two Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) for its studies. The REMUS (Remote Environmental Measuring Units) 100 (see Figure 1) is a compact, light-weight, AUV designed for operation in coastal environments up to 100 meters in depth. The AUVs will be deployed by a newly formed APL-UW AUV group as part of CMOP's experimental observation network which consists of multiple fixed and mobile platforms equipped with oceanographic sensors. The AUVs will be used, primarily, to study the Columbia River plume and estuary region. The AUVs will be deployed periodically throughout each operational year. We also plan to allow customization of the AUVs by integrating novel biogeochemical sensors to meet specific scientific objectives for the CMOP program.

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2000-present and while at APL-UW

Extent and reproduction of coastal species on plastic debris in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre

Haram, L.E., and 16 others including A. Shcherbina, "Extent and reproduction of coastal species on plastic debris in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre," Nat. Ecol. Evol., EOR, doi:10.1038/s41559-023-01997-y, 2023.

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17 Apr 2023

We show that the high seas are colonized by a diverse array of coastal species, which survive and reproduce in the open ocean, contributing strongly to its floating community composition. Analysis of rafting plastic debris in the eastern North Pacific Subtropical Gyre revealed 37 coastal invertebrate taxa, largely of Western Pacific origin, exceeding pelagic taxa richness by threefold. Coastal taxa, including diverse taxonomic groups and life history traits, occurred on 70.5% of debris items. Most coastal taxa possessed either direct development or asexual reproduction, possibly facilitating long-term persistence on rafts. Our results suggest that the historical lack of available substrate limited the colonization of the open ocean by coastal species, rather than physiological or ecological constraints as previously assumed. It appears that coastal species persist now in the open ocean as a substantial component of a neopelagic community sustained by the vast and expanding sea of plastic debris.

Inertial oscillations and frontal processes in an Alboran Sea jet: Effects on divergence and vertical transport

Esposito, G., and 15 others including A.Y. Shcherbina and E.A. D'Asaro, "Inertial oscillations and frontal processes in an Alboran Sea jet: Effects on divergence and vertical transport," J. Geophys. Res., 128, doi:10.1029/2022JC019004, 2023.

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1 Mar 2023

Vertical transport pathways in the ocean are still only partially understood despite their importance for biogeochemical, pollutant, and climate applications. Detailed measurements of a submesoscale frontal jet in the Alboran Sea (Mediterranean Sea) during a period of highly variable winds were made using cross-frontal velocity, density sections and dense arrays of surface drifters deployed across the front. The measurements show divergences as large as ±f implying vertical velocities of order 100 m/day for a ≈ 20 m thick surface layer. Over the 20 hr of measurement, the divergences made nearly one complete oscillation, suggesting an important role for near-inertial oscillations. A wind-forced slab model modified by the observed background frontal structure and with initial conditions matched to the data produces divergence oscillations and pattern compatible with that observed. Significant differences, though, are found in terms of mean divergence, with the data showing a prevalence of negative, convergent values. Despite the limitations in data sampling and model uncertainties, this suggests the contribution of other dynamical processes. Turbulent boundary layer processes are discussed, as a contributor to enhance the observed convergent phase. Water mass properties suggest that symmetric instabilities might also be present but do not play a crucial role, while downward stirring along displaced isopycnals is observed.

Diagnosing frontal dynamics from observations using a variational approach

Cutolo, E., and 11 others including A. Shcherbina and E. D'Asaro, "Diagnosing frontal dynamics from observations using a variational approach," J. Geophys. Res., 127, doi:10.1029/2021JC018336, 2022.

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1 Nov 2022

Intensive hydrographic and horizontal velocity measurements collected in the Alboran Sea enabled us to diagnose the three-dimensional dynamics of a frontal system. The sampled domain was characterized by a 40 km diameter anticyclonic eddy, with an intense front on its eastern side, separating the Atlantic and Mediterranean waters. Here, we implemented a multi-variate variational analysis (VA) to reconstruct the hydrographic fields, combining the 1-km horizontal resolution of the Underway Conductivity-Temperature-Depth (CTD) system with information on the flow shape from the Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler velocities. One advantage of the VA is given by the physical constraint, which preserves fine-scale gradients better than the classical optimal interpolation (OI). A comparison between real drifter trajectories and virtual particles advected in the mapping quantified the improvements in the VA over the OI, with a 15% larger skill score. Quasi-geostrophic (QG) and semi-geostrophic (SG) omega equations enabled us to estimate the vertical velocity (w) which reached 40 m/day on the dense side of the front. How nutrients and other passive tracers leave the mixed-layer and subduct is estimated with 3D advection from the VA, which agreed with biological sampling from traditional CTD casts at two eddy locations. Downwelling warm filaments are further evidence of subduction, in line with the w from SG, but not with QG. SG better accounted for the along-isopycnal component of w in agreement with another analysis made on isopycnal coordinates. The multi-platform approach of this work and the use of variational methods improved the characterization and understanding of (sub)-mesoscale frontal dynamics.

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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