Seismic Oceanography: What can active-source seismic reflection profiling tell us about the oceanic water column?

Session ID#: 27826

Session Description:
It has relatively recently been recognised that variations in temperature and salinity within the oceanic water column give rise to acoustic impedance contrasts which can be imaged using active-source seismic reflection profiling. Seismic images of thermohaline structure achieve spatial resolutions of ~O(10) m in both the horizontal and the vertical, sample the full depth of the water column along transects of hundreds of kilometers in length, and capture physical oceanographic phenomena at a wide range of scales. Techniques for quantifying geostrophic velocities, absolute values of temperature and salinity, and rates of turbulent mixing using seismic data have been developed. Recently, seismic transects in which data is acquired in both horizontal dimensions have been acquired repeatedly. Using these data, the development of three-dimensional thermohaline structure on spatial scales of O(100) m to O(100) km and on time scales of days to years can be mapped. Such maps relate the spatio-temporal evolution of mesoscale features and the internal wave field to turbulent dissipation at small scales. This tutorial will provide (I) an overview of the seismic technique; (II) a summary of some previous results; and (III) a discussion of objectives for future development and broader application of the method.
Primary Presenter:  Colm-cille Patrick Caulfield, University of Cambridge, BP Institute/Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, Cambridge, United Kingdom
Presenter:  Katy L. Sheen, University of Exeter, Geography, Exeter, United Kingdom
Index Terms:

4520 Eddies and mesoscale processes [OCEANOGRAPHY: PHYSICAL]
4544 Internal and inertial waves [OCEANOGRAPHY: PHYSICAL]
4568 Turbulence, diffusion, and mixing processes [OCEANOGRAPHY: PHYSICAL]
4594 Instruments and techniques [OCEANOGRAPHY: PHYSICAL]
  • IS - Ocean Observatories, Instrumentation and Sensing Technologies
  • PS - Physical Oceanography: Mesoscale and Smaller
  • PO - Physical Oceanography: Other

Abstracts Submitted to this Session:

Ana E Rice1, Warren T Wood1, Jeffrey W Book1, Silvia Matt1, Nicole L Jones2, Cynthia Bluteau2,3 and Scott R Smith1, (1)U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, Stennis Space Center, MS, United States, (2)University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA, Australia, (3)Institut des Sciences de la Mer de Rimouski, Rimouski, QC, Canada

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