Current oceanographic interest in the interaction of relatively warm water of the Southern Ocean Circumpolar Deep Water (CDW) as it moves southward to the frigid waters of the Antarctic continental shelves is based on the potential importance of heat transport from the global ocean to the base of continental ice shelves. This is needed to understand the longer term mass balance of the continent, the stability of the vast Antarctic ice sheets and the rate at which sea-level will rise in a warming world. Improved observational knowledge of the mechanisms of how warming CDW moves across the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) is needed. Understanding this dynamical transport, believed to take place through the eddy flux of time-varying mesoscale circulation features, will improve coupled ocean-atmospheric climate models. The development of the next generation of coupled ocean-ice-climate models help us understand future changes in atmospheric heat fluxes, glacial and sea-ice balance, and changes in the Antarctic ecosystems. A recurring obstacle to our understanding is the lack of data in this distant region. In this project, a total of 10 subsurface profiling EM-APEX floats adapted to operate under sea ice were launched in 12 missions (and 2 recoveries) from 4 cruises of opportunity to the Amundsen Sea sector of the Antarctic continental margin during Austral summer. The floats were launched south of the Polar Front and measured shear, turbulence, temperature, and salinity to 2000m depth for 1-2 year missions while drifting with the CDW layer between profiles.
The one place on Earth consistently showing increases in sea ice area, duration, and concentration is the Ross Sea in Antarctica. Satellite imagery shows about half of the Ross Sea increases are associated with changes in the austral fall, when the new sea ice is forming. The most pronounced changes are also located near polynyas, which are areas of open ocean surrounded by sea ice. To understand the processes driving the sea ice increase, and to determine if the increase in sea ice area is also accompanied by a change in ice thickness, this project will conduct an oceanographic cruise to the polynyas of the Ross Sea in April and May, 2017, which is the austral fall. The team will deploy state of the art research tools including unmanned airborne systems (UASs, commonly called drones), autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), and remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROVs). Using these tools and others, the team will study atmospheric, oceanic, and sea ice properties and processes concurrently. A change in sea ice production will necessarily change the ocean water below, which may have significant consequences for global ocean circulation patterns, a topic of international importance. All the involved institutions will be training students, and all share the goal of expanding climate literacy in the US, emphasizing the role high latitudes play in the Earth's dynamic climate.<br/><br/>The main goal of the project is to improve estimates of sea ice production and water mass transformation in the Ross Sea. The team will fully capture the spatial and temporal changes in air-ice-ocean interactions when they are initiated in the austral fall, and then track the changes into the winter and spring using ice buoys, and airborne mapping with the newly commissioned IcePod instrument system, which is deployed on the US Antarctic Program's LC-130 fleet. The oceanographic cruise will include stations in and outside of both the Terra Nova Bay and Ross Ice Shelf polynyas. Measurements to be made include air-sea boundary layer fluxes of heat, freshwater, and trace gases, radiation, and meteorology in the air; ice formation processes, ice thickness, snow depth, mass balance, and ice drift within the sea ice zone; and temperature, salinity, and momentum in the ocean below. Following collection of the field data, the team will improve both model parameterizations of air-sea-ice interactions and remote sensing algorithms. Model parameterizations are needed to determine if sea-ice production has increased in crucial areas, and if so, why (e.g., stronger winds or fresher oceans). The remote sensing validation will facilitate change detection over wider areas and verify model predictions over time. Accordingly this project will contribute to the international Southern Ocean Observing System (SOOS) goal of measuring essential climate variables continuously to monitor the state of the ocean and ice cover into the future.
This project will study the dynamics of Circumpolar Deep Water intruding on the continental shelf of the West Antarctic coast, and the effect of this intrusion on the production of cold, dense bottom water, and melting at the base of floating glaciers and ice tongues. It will concentrate on the Amundsen Sea shelf, specifically in the region of the Pine Island Glacier, the Thwaites Glacier, and the Getz Ice Shelf. Circumpolar Deep Water (CDW) is a relatively warm water mass (warmer than +1.0 deg Celsius) which is normally confined to the outer edge of the continental shelf by an oceanic front separating this water mass from colder and saltier shelf waters. In the Amundsen Sea however, the deeper parts of the continental shelf are filled with nearly undiluted CDW, which is mixed upward, delivering significant amounts of heat to the base of the floating glacier tongues and the ice shelf. The melt rate beneath the Pine Island Glacier averages ten meters of ice per year with local annual rates reaching twenty meters. By comparison, melt rates beneath the Ross Ice Shelf are typically twenty to forty centimeters of ice per year. In addition, both the Pine Island and the Thwaites Glacier are extremely fast-moving, and have a significant effect on the regional ice mass balance of West Antarctica. This project therefore has an important connection to antarctic glaciology, particularly in assessing the combined effect of global change on the antarctic environment. The particular objectives of the project are (1) to delineate the frontal structure on the continental shelf sufficiently to define quantitatively the major routes of CDW inflow, meltwater outflow, and the westward evolution of CDW influence; (2) to use the obtained data set to validate a three-dimensional model of sub-ice ocean circulation that is currently under construction, and (3) to refine the estiamtes of in situ melting on the mass balance of the antarctic ice sheet. The observational program will be carried out from the research vessel Nathaniel B. Palmer in February and March, 1999.
This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5).<br/><br/>An interdisciplinary team of researchers will focus on describing the high productivity patchiness observed in phytoplankton blooms in the mid to late summer in the Ross Sea, Antarctica. Key hypotheses to be tested and extended are that intrusions of nutrient and micro nutrient (e.g. Fe) rich water masses of the Antarctic modified circumpolar deep water (CDW) up onto continental shelves act to control the biogeochemical response of a large area of the productive Ross Sea coastal region. It is believed that this enhanced productivity may be a significant contributing factor to the global carbon cycle. <br/><br/>A novel sampling strategy to be used to test the above hypotheses will employ a remotely controlled deep (1000m) glider (AUV) to locate and map CDW in near real time measuring C (conductivity), T (temperature), D (pressure) and apparent optical properties, and which will serve to direct further ship-based sampling. <br/><br/>The adaptive coordination of a polar research vessel with an AUV additionally provides an opportunity to engage in formal and informal education and public outreach on issues in polar research.
This study will investigate how the Antarctic Slope Front and continental slope morphology determine the exchanges of mass, heat, and fresh water between the shelf and the deep ocean, in particular those leading to outflows of dense water into intermediate and deep layers of the adjacent basins and into the world ocean circulation <br/>While the importance to the global ocean circulation and climate of cold water masses originating in the Antarctic is unquestioned, the processes by which these water masses enter the deep ocean circulation are not. The primary goal of this work therefore is to identify the principal physical processes that govern the transfer of shelf-modified dense water into intermediate and deep layers of the adjacent deep ocean. At the same time, it seeks to understand the compensatory poleward flow of waters from the oceanic regime. The upper continental slope has been identified as the critical gateway for the exchange of shelf and deep ocean waters. Here the topography, velocity and density fields associated with the nearly ubiquitous front must strongly influence the advective and turbulent transfer of water properties between the shelf and oceanic regimes. The study has four specific objectives:  Determine the mean frontal structure and the principal scales of variability, and estimate the role of the front on cross-slope exchanges and mixing of adjacent water masses;  Determine the influence of slope topography and bathymetry on frontal location and outflow of dense Shelf Water;  Establish the role of frontal instabilities, benthic boundary layer transports, tides and other oscillatory processes on cross-slope advection and fluxes; and  Assess the effect of diapycnal mixing, lateral mixing identified through intrusions, and nonlinearities in the equation of state on the rate of descent and the fate of outflowing, near-freezing Shelf Water.
This proposed work is a study of the biological production and export flux of biogenic matter in response to ventilation of intermediate and deep water masses within the Polar Front zone. It is a collaborative work between the University of Maine and the Chinese Antarctic Research Expedition (CHINARE). The shipboard work is proposed for the Chinese antarctic resupply vessel off Prydz Bay in the Indian Ocean sector. In the austral Spring, this region experiences phytoplankton blooms that are thought to be the result of nutrient transport by the ventilation of intermediate and deep water masses. On an annual basis, it is believed that such blooms are the primary source of particulate organic carbon and biogenic silica flux to the ocean bottom. At this time however no data exists on the amount of particulate organic matter that sinks through the water column, leaving the quantitative relationships between production and export largely undefined in this region. The initial phase of the work consists of setting out a time-series sediment trap mooring at approximately 64 deg S latitude and 73 deg E longitude to take advantage of the historical data set that CHINARE has obtained in this area over the past decade. The biweekly to monthly trap samples will be analyzed for their organic constituents, and in conjunction with primary productivity observations will provide the basic data from which export values can be derived. This work will be carried out in collaboration with the State Oceanic Administration of the People's Republic of China, and the Chinese Antarctic Research Expedition. In addition to providing time on the antarctic resupply vessel, the SOA will sponsor the shipboard primary productivity experiments and the supporting hydrographic measurements. The collaborating American scientists will provide guidance in making these observations to standards developed for the Joint Global Ocean Flux Study, and provide the hardware for the moored sediment trap. There will be a mutual sharing between the U.S. and Chinese investigators of all samples and data sets, and the data analysis will be carried out jointly. ***
This study will investigate how the formation of dense water masses on the antarctic continental shelves is affected by the periodic flushing by relatively warm circumpolar deep water, and whether the intrusion of warm water cna enhance the rate of formation of dense antarctic water. The study involves the observation of water mass modification processes on the continental shelf off the Adelie Coast in East Antarctica, near a quasi-permanent area of open water in the vicinity of the Mertz and Ninnis Glacier tongues - the so-called Mertz polynya.<br/><br/>Antarctic coastal polynyas, formed by strong offshore winds, are often referred to as major sea ice and salt "factories" because the newly formed ice is blown seaward, allowing more ice to be formed along the coast, and because the freezing process increases the salinity of the continental shelf water. The thin ice, or even open water, implies significant heat losses from the ocean to the atmosphere, which also increases the density of the shelf water. The shelf water sinks, fills any depressions in the bottom, and is gravitationally driven down the continental slope. An additional process is identified for this study and is expected to be at work in this area: the intrusion of relatively warm water onto the continental shelf, overriding the shelf water and essentially shutting down the densification processes.<br/><br/> The study will make use of the RVIB Nathaniel B. Palmer to obtain a closely spaced array of hydrographic stations over the continental shelf and slope along the George V Coast in the austral summer. The dat obtained here will complement a similar winter study by the Australian National Antarctic Program.<br/>***
9528807 Gordon The proposed project is part of a multi-institutional integrated study of the outflow of newly formed bottom water from the Weddell Sea and its dispersion into the South Atlantic Ocean. It builds upon earlier successful studies of the inflow of intermediate water masses into the Eastern Weddell Sea, their modification within the Weddell Gyre, and their interaction with bottom water formation processes in the western Weddell Sea. The study is called Deep Ocean Ventilation Through Antarctic Intermediate Layers (DOVETAIL) and includes six components involving hydrographic measurements, natural tracer experiments, and modeling studies. The study will be centered east of the Drake Passage where water masses from the Weddell Sea and the Scotia Sea come together in the Weddell-Scotia Confluence, and will be carried out in cooperation with the national antarctic programs of Germany and Spain. This particular component concerns observations of the temperature and salinity structure, as well as the chemical nature of the water column in the confluence region. The study has four related objectives. The first is to assess the quantity and the physical and chemical characteristics of Weddell Sea source waters for the confluence. The second is to describe the dominant processes associated with spreading and sinking of dense antarctic waters within the Weddell-Scotia Confluence. The third is to estimate the ventilation rate of the world ocean, and the fourth is to estimate seasonal fluctuations in the regional ocean transport and hydrographic structure and to assess the likely influence of seasonal to interannual variability on rates of ventilation by Weddell Sea waters. Ventilation of the deep ocean -- the rising of sub-surface water masses to the surface to be recharged with atmospheric gases and to give up heat to the atmosphere -- is a uniquely antarctic phenomenon that has significant consequences for global change by affecting the g lobal reservoir of carbon dioxide, and by modulating the amount and extent of seasonal sea ice in the southern hemisphere. This component will make systematic observations of the temperature salinity structure of the water and undertake an extensive sampling program for other chemical studies. The purpose is to identify the individual water masses and to relate their temperature and salinity characteristics to the modification processes within the Weddell Sea. ***
This project is a two-year investigation into the dynamics and processes of deep water mass formation in the western Weddell Sea, combining physical and chemical oceanographic techniques to produce a coherent picture of the importance of this unique region to the structure of the world ocean. In the global context, this area is a major water mass modification site, involving open ocean convective events, the continental margin, and the ice cover. At this time the various water types that combine to form Weddell Sea Deep Water and Antarctic Bottom Water, and the conditions under which these water masses form, are not known well enough to establish direct physical links and volumetric budgets. It is suspected that the outflow from the Weddell Sea is restricted to quite narrow boundary currents flowing near the base of the continental shelf, and consequently may be observed with conventional current meter moorings from the shelf into the deep ocean. Two oceanographic expeditions to the western Weddell Sea are planned as part of this study: the first in the 1990/91, and the second in 1991/92. The objectives will be to measure the flow of newly-formed bottom water and to explore the sinking process of near-surface waters in the open ocean to see how these affect the deep water flows. In the first year the primary objective will be to set out an array of eight current meters in the bottom water core, while a secondary objective will be to grapple for an existing array that was set out in early 1988 but could not be recovered in 1989 because Antarctic Program ship resources had to be diverted to deal with the oil spill at Palmer Station. In the second year the array will be retrieved. Hydrographic cruises in order to define the upper ocean temperatures and salinity structure in the outflow region where unusually large step structures have been found in the past. A chemistry program consistent with the objectives of the World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE) and presently planned experiments in the South Atlantic Ocean, will be integrated into the cruises carried out under this project.
An array of moorings will be deployed and maintained east of Cape Adare, Antarctica, at the northwestern corner of the Ross Sea to observe the properties of Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW) exiting the Ross Sea. This location has been identified from recent studies as an ideal place to make such measurements. Antarctic Bottom Water has the highest density of the major global water masses, and fills the deepest parts of the world's oceans. Because it obtains many of its characteristics during its contact with the atmosphere and with glacial ice along the continental margins of Antarctica, it is expected that changes in newly-formed AABW may represent an effective indicator for abrupt climate change. The heterogeneous nature of the source regions around Antarctica complicates the observation of newly-formed AABW properties. The two most important source regions for AABW are within the Weddell and the Ross Seas, with additional sources drawn from the east Antarctic margins. In the northwestern Weddell Sea, several programs have been undertaken in the last decade to monitor the long term variability of Weddell Sea Deep and Bottom Water, precursors of AABW originating from the Weddell Sea, however no such systematic efforts have yet been undertaken to make longterm measurements of outflow from the Ross Sea. The proposed study will significantly improve our knowledge of the long term variability in the outflow of deep and bottom water from the Ross Sea, and will provide the beginnings of a long-term monitoring effort which ultimately will allow detection of changes in the ocean in the context of global climate change. When joined with similar efforts ongoing in the Weddell Sea, long-term behavior and possible coupling of these two important sources of the ocean's deepest water mass can be examined in detail.
This project is a contribution to a coordinated attempt to understand the interactions of biological and physical dynamics by developing relationships among the evolution of the antarctic winter ice and snow cover, biological habitat variability, and the seasonal progression of marine ecological processes. The work will be carried out in the context of the Southern Ocean Experiment of the Global Ocean Ecosystem Dynamics Study (Globec), a large, multi-investigator study of the winter survival strategy of krill under the antarctic sea ice in the vicinity of Marguerite Bay on the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula.<br/><br/>The objective of this project is to make a quantitative assessment of the small scale temperature and salinity structure of the oceanic surface layer in order to study the effect of stratification and turbulence on the biochemical and biological processes under the winter sea ice.<br/><br/>The water masses on the continental shelf off Marguerite Bay consist of inflowing Upper Circumpolar Deep Water, which is relatively warm, salty, oxygen-poor, and nutrient-rich. In winter atmospheric processes cool and freshen this water, and recharge it with oxygen to produce Antarctic Surface Water which is diffused seaward, and supports both a sea ice cover and a productive krill-based food web. The modification processes work through mixing associated with shear instabilities of the internal wave field, double diffusion of salt and heat, and mixing driven by surface stress and convection. These processes will be quantified with two microstructure profilers, capable of resolving the small but crucial vertical variations that drive these processes.<br/>***