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Did double-diffusive staircases exist in the Arctic during the 1970s?

Scientists have often lowered instruments into the ocean to take measurements as they reach greater and greater depths. Many of these profiles that were measured in the Arctic Ocean have been found to contain structures of many layers, each several meters thick, that are called double-diffusive staircases. These layers have significant impacts on the vertical transport of nutrients and heat. Autonomous instruments called Ice Tethered Profilers (ITP's) have been taking high-resolution profiles in the Arctic since 2004 and routinely find staircases. However, there seems to be no evidence of staircases in the profiles taken during the Arctic Ice Dynamics Joint Experiment (AIDJEX), which took place from 1975-1976. We investigate whether this is because the AIDJEX measurements are too low resolution or whether there were, in fact, no staircases in the Arctic at that time.

Event series  Brewer-Wilson Seminar Series