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Ocean Science An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2019-41
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2019-41
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 23 May 2019

Research article | 23 May 2019

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Ocean Science (OS).

Characterization of Ocean Mixing and Dynamics during the 2017 Maud Rise Polynya Event

Jhon F. Mojica1, Daiane Faller1, Diana Francis1, Clare Eayrs1, and David Holland2 Jhon F. Mojica et al.
  • 1Center for global Sea Level Change, NYUAD, Abu Dhabi, UAE
  • 2Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, NYUNY, New York, USA

Abstract. During 2017 Austral winter, an open ocean polynya appeared in the Lazarev Sea, centered over Maud Rise. The vertical structure of the water column presented temporal and spatial variability with a weak stratification during the period of observations from January 2015 to January 2019. While over the Northern Maud Rise area, a highly stratified layer was identified between 80–180 m depth. This layer works as a thermal barrier where the energy from summer months is stored, preventing the warm sub-surface waters from mixing with the shallow waters. So far, a complete description of the polynya formation and maintenance processes is still lacking. To characterize the internal structure of the ocean during the 2017 Maud Rise polynya event we use in situ observations and ocean model reanalysis data. The obtained results revealed that the incidence of thermobaric convection, diapycnal and isopycnal mixing processes over the Maud Rise drives the exchange of energy in the water column. We highlight three relevant factors that contribute to the energy flux for the open-ocean polynya preconditioning: level of instability, pycnocline fluctuation, and bathymetric influence. Another remarkable feature is the warmer summer surface layer over the Maud Rise, which transfers heat to intermediate layers accumulating energy for almost four months. Energy storage at the thermal barrier is evaluated based on heat flux calculations to quantify the exchange of energy between the different water layers. These processes together operate as an ocean preconditioning to the formation and maintenance of an open-ocean polynya event.

Jhon F. Mojica et al.
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Short summary
During 2017 Austral winter, an ice-free area surrounded by the winter sea ice called open ocean polynya appeared in the Lazarev Sea, Antarctica. A layer between 80–180 m depth storage energy from summer months characterizing the vertical structure of the water column. Mixing processes drives the exchange of energy in the water column. This exchange of energy contribute to the open-ocean polynya preconditioning.
During 2017 Austral winter, an ice-free area surrounded by the winter sea ice called open ocean...
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