Acoustic sensing of ocean mixed layer depth and temperature from uplooking ADCPs

Properties of the surface mixed layer (ML) are critical for understanding and predicting atmosphere-sea ice-ocean interactions in the changing Arctic Ocean. Mooring measurements are typically unable to resolve the ML in the Arctic due to the need for instruments to remain below the surface to avoid contact with sea ice and icebergs. Here, we use measurements from a series of three moorings installed for one year in the Beaufort Sea to demonstrate that upward looking Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers (ADCPs) installed on subsurface floats can be used to estimate ML properties. A method is developed for combining measured peaks in acoustic backscatter and inertial shear from the ADCPs to estimate the ML depth. Additionally, we use an inverse sound speed model to infer the summer ML temperature based on offsets in ADCP altimeter distance during open water periods. The ADCP estimates of ML depth and ML temperature compare favourably with measurements made from mooring temperature sensors, satellite SST, and from an autonomous Seaglider. These methods could be applied to other extant mooring records to recover additional information about ML property changes and variability.


Publication status:
Authors: Brenner, Samuel, Thomson, Jim, Rainville, Luc, Torres, Daniel, Doble, Martin, Wilkinson, Jeremy, Lee, Craig

On this site: Jeremy Wilkinson
1 January, 2023
Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology / 40
12pp / 53-64
Link to published article: