A novel approach to making microstructure measurements in the ice-covered Arctic Ocean.

Friday, 19 December 2014
John Guthrie, Polar Science Center, APL-UW, Seattle, WA, United States, James Morison, Polar Science Ctr, Seattle, WA, United States and Ilker Fer, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
As part of the 2014 Field Season of the North Pole Environmental Observatory, a 7-day microstructure experiment was performed. A Rockland Scientific Microrider with 2 FP07 fast response thermistors and 2 SBE-7 micro-conductivity probes was attached to a Seabird 911+ Conductivity-Temperature-Depth unit to allow for calibration of the microstructure probes against the highly accurate Seabird temperature and conductivity sensors. From a heated hut, the instrument package was lowered through a 0.75-m hole in the sea ice down to 350 m depth using a lightweight winch powered with a 3-phase, frequency-controlled motor that produced a smooth, controlled lowering speed of 25 cm s-1. Focusing on temperature and conductivity microstructure and using the special winch removed many of the complications involved with the use of free-fall microstructure profilers under the ice. The slow profiling speed permits calculation of Χ, the dissipation of thermal variance, without relying on fits to theoretical spectra to account for the unresolved variance. The dissipation rate of turbulent kinetic energy, ε, can then be estimated using the temperature gradient spectrum and the Ruddick et al. [2001] maximum likelihood method. Outside of a few turbulent patches, thermal diffusivity ranged between O(10-7) and O(10-6) m2s-1, resulting in negligible turbulent heat fluxes. Estimated ε was often at or below the noise level of most shear-based microstructure profilers. The noise level of Χ is estimated at O(10-11) °C2s-1, revealing the utility and applicability of this technique in future Arctic field work.