Weekly CASPO Seminar: Join us on Zoom every Wednesday at 3:30 pm to hear about the latest and greatest in Climate, Atmospheric Sciences, and Physical Oceanography!
LuAnne Thompson (University of Washington) will be presenting a talk titled "Provinces of air-sea interaction in the North Atlantic Ocean".
Using analysis of the temporal relationship between sea surface temperature (SST), sea surface height (SSH), and turbulent flux of heat (Q), we investigate the relative role of the atmosphere and ocean in controlling air-sea interaction in the North Atlantic Ocean on monthly to interannual time scales. Two stochastic air-sea interaction models are used to frame the analysis and to understand the dependences of the structure of the lagged correlation of SST with Q on the thickness of the surface mixed-layer and the relative strength of atmospheric and oceanic forcing.
We use Kmeans clustering of lagged correlations of SST with Q to identify provinces of air-sea interaction within the North Atlantic using monthly observations (OISST and OAFLUX). We find clear demarcation of regions with differing controls on air-sea interaction, one where ocean heat transport convergence anomalies dominate the control of air-sea fluxes (Gulf Stream Northern Recirculation Gyre), another where the atmosphere drives and then damps SST anomalies (the subtropical interior), and a region where the atmosphere drives SST anomalies that are not damped locally (subpolar gyre).
We also quantify the relative role of the atmosphere and the ocean in controlling upper ocean heat content by examining the turbulent flux feedback from SST and SSH anomalies separately. Assuming that the SSH reflects temperature anomalies down to a depth H, H can be found from the ratio of SSH to SST feedback. Then, the ratio of H to the local climatological maximum mixed-layer depth gives an approximation of the relative size of ocean heat transport convergence anomalies and air-sea flux anomalies in renewing upper ocean heat content anomalies. This ratio peaks within the core of the Gulf Stream and in the Gulf of Mexico.
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