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Stratified Ocean Dynamics in the Arctic (SODA)

"Stratified Ocean Dynamics in the Arctic (SODA)" is an Office of Naval Research (ONR) Departmental Research Initiative, or DRI. This research initiative will run for five years (FY16-FY20) and is motivated by the observed changes in the upper ocean stratification in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas and the increased open water during summer months in this region. The DRI will explore the impact of surface forcing on the upper ocean stratification in the Arctic, particularly the potential for increased turbulence, mixing and vertical heat transport.

Questions to be addressed in this DRI include:

  • What are the causes and consequences of the changing upper ocean stratification in the mixed layer and Pacific Water inflow?
  • What is the interplay between wind entrainment, convection, solar heating, and buoyancy input?
  • What is the importance of heterogeneity in mesoscale and submesoscale processes?
  • How is the wind stress partitioned within the ice-ocean system in both depth and frequency (including surface waves, ice motions, mixed layer and deeper acceleration, internal waves)?
  • What is the fate and impact of the observed increases in heat in the upper ocean?

The primary field effort is expected to take place in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas between the summer of 2018 through the summer of 2019, and will employ a variety of observational approaches involving sensors drifting with the sea ice, within the water column, piloted autonomous vehicles, bottom-moored systems, and ship-based data collection. The titles of the current SODA DRI awards are listed below.

  • Dynamics of Near-inertial Motions in the Beaufort Sea: Interplay between Forcing Conditions Stratification and Mixing
  • An Annual Cycle of Atmosphere-Ice-Ocean Interactions using Autonomous Gliders and Moorings
  • An Annual Cycle of Ice-Ocean Interactions using Autonomous Platforms: Sea Ice Component
  • Polar Ocean Positioning
  • Modeling Near-Inertial Internal Wave Response in a Seasonally Ice-Free Arctic: Differences from a Mid-Latitude Wave Field
  • Shear Microstructure and Towed Body Measurements of Internal Waves and Turbulence in the Beaufort Sea
  • Long-term Monitoring of Deep-Ocean Near Inertial Wave Activity and Surface Sea-Ice Cover in the Arctic Ocean using PDS-CPIES
  • Long Term Observations of Inertial Waves and Turbulent Diffusivity in the Upper Pycnocline of the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas
  • Wind Stress Inversion for the Arctic Ocean

Questions about the management of the SODA DRI can be sent via e-mail to: Dr. Scott Harper,