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Cecilia Peralta Ferriz

Principal Oceanographer





Department Affiliation

Polar Science Center


B.S. Oceanography, Universidad Autonoma de Baja California, 2004

M.S. Physical Oceanography, University of Washington, 2008

Ph.D. Physical Oceanography, University of Washington, 2012


2000-present and while at APL-UW

Monitoring Alaskan Arctic shelf ecosystems through collaborative observation networks

Danielson, S.L., and 21 others including C. Peralta-Ferriz and R. Woodgate, "Monitoring Alaskan Arctic shelf ecosystems through collaborative observation networks," Oceanography, 35, 198-209, doi:10.5670/oceanog.2022.119, 2022.

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1 Dec 2022

Ongoing scientific programs that monitor marine environmental and ecological systems and changes comprise an informal but collaborative, information-rich, and spatially extensive network for the Alaskan Arctic continental shelves. Such programs reflect contributions and priorities of regional, national, and international funding agencies, as well as private donors and communities. These science programs are operated by a variety of local, regional, state, and national agencies, and academic, Tribal, for-profit, and nongovernmental nonprofit entities. Efforts include research ship and autonomous vehicle surveys, year-long mooring deployments, and observations from coastal communities. Inter-program coordination allows cost-effective leveraging of field logistics and collected data into value-added information that fosters new insights unattainable by any single program operating alone. Coordination occurs at many levels, from discussions at marine mammal co-management meetings and interagency meetings to scientific symposia and data workshops. Together, the efforts represented by this collection of loosely linked long-term monitoring programs enable a biologically focused scientific foundation for understanding ecosystem responses to warming water temperatures and declining Arctic sea ice. Here, we introduce a variety of currently active monitoring efforts in the Alaskan Arctic marine realm that exemplify the above attributes.

Warming and freshening of the Pacific inflow to the Arctic from 1990–2019 implying dramatic shoaling in Pacific Winter Water ventilation in the Arctic water column

Woodgate, R.A., and C. Peralta-Ferriz, "Warming and freshening of the Pacific inflow to the Arctic from 1990–2019 implying dramatic shoaling in Pacific Winter Water ventilation in the Arctic water column," Geophys. Res. Lett., 48, doi:10.1029/2021GL092528, 2021.

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16 May 2021

The Pacific inflow to the Arctic traditionally brings heat in summer, melting sea ice; dense waters in winter, refreshing the Arctic's cold halocline; and nutrients year-round, supporting Arctic ecosystems. Bering Strait moorings from 1990 to 2019 find increasing (0.010 ± 0.006 Sv/yr) northward flow, reducing Chukchi residence times by ~1.5 months over this period (record maximum/minimum ~7.5 and ~4.5 months). Annual mean temperatures warm significantly (0.05 ± 0.02°C/yr), with faster change (~0.1°C/yr) in warming (June/July) and cooling (October/November) months, which are now 2°°C to 4°C above climatology. Warm (greater than or equal to 0°C) water duration increased from 5.5 months (the 1990s) to over 7 months (2017), mostly due to earlier warming (1.3 ± 0.7 days/yr). Dramatic winter-only (January–March) freshening (0.03 psu/yr) makes winter waters fresher than summer waters. The resultant winter density change, too large to be compensated by Chukchi sea-ice processes, shoals the Pacific Winter Water (PWW) equilibrium depth in the Arctic from 100–150 to 50–100 m, implying PWW no longer ventilates the Arctic’s cold halocline at 33.1 psu.

The cyclonic mode of Arctic Ocean circulation

Morison, J., R. Kwok, S. Dickinson, R. Andersen, C. Peralta-Ferriz, D. Morison, I. Rigor, S. Dewey, and J. Guthrie, "The cyclonic mode of Arctic Ocean circulation," J. Phys. Oceanogr., 51, 1053–1075, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-20-0190.1, 2021.

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1 Apr 2021

Arctic Ocean surface circulation change should not be viewed as the strength of the anticyclonic Beaufort Gyre. While the Beaufort Gyre is a dominant feature of average Arctic Ocean surface circulation, empirical orthogonal function analysis of dynamic height (1950–1989) and satellite altimetry-derived dynamic ocean topography (2004–-2019) show the primary pattern of variability in its cyclonic mode is dominated by a depression of the sea surface and cyclonic surface circulation on the Russian side of the Arctic Ocean. Changes in surface circulation after AO maxima in 1989 and 2007–08 and after an AO minimum in 2010, indicate the cyclonic mode is forced by the Arctic Oscillation (AO) with a lag of about one year. Associated with a one standard deviation increase in the average AO starting in the early 1990s, Arctic Ocean surface circulation underwent a cyclonic shift evidenced by increased spatial-average vorticity. Under increased AO, the cyclonic mode complex also includes increased export of sea ice and near-surface freshwater, a changed path of Eurasian runoff, a freshened Beaufort Sea, and weakened cold halocline layer that insulates sea ice from Atlantic water heat, an impact compounded by increased Atlantic Water inflow and cyclonic circulation at depth. The cyclonic mode's connection with the AO is important because the AO is a major global scale climate index predicted to increase with global warming. Given the present bias in concentration of in situ measurements in the Beaufort Gyre and Transpolar Drift, a coordinated effort should be made to better observe the cyclonic mode.

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Acoustics Air-Sea Interaction & Remote Sensing Center for Environmental & Information Systems Center for Industrial & Medical Ultrasound Electronic & Photonic Systems Ocean Engineering Ocean Physics Polar Science Center