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Title: Ocean–atmosphere interaction over Agulhas extension meanders
Authors: Liu, W. Timothy
Xie, Xiaosu
Niiler, Pearn P.
Keywords: Agulhas Extension Current (AEC),
stress vorticity
Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS)
Issue Date: 15-Mar-2007
Publisher: American Meteorological Society
Citation: Journal of Climate, Vol. 20, DOI: 10.1175/2007JCLI1732.1
Abstract: Many years of high-resolution measurements by a number of space-based sensors and from Lagrangian drifters became available recently and are used to examine the persistent atmospheric imprints of the semipermanent meanders of the Agulhas Extension Current (AEC), where strong surface current and temperature gradients are found. The sea surface temperature (SST) measured by the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer-Earth Observing System (AMSR-E) and the chlorophyll concentration measured by the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) support the identification of the meanders and related ocean circulation by the drifters. The collocation of high and low magnitudes of equivalent neutral wind (ENW) measured by Quick Scatterometer (QuikSCAT), which is uniquely related to surface stress by definition, illustrates not only the stability dependence of turbulent mixing but also the unique stress measuring capability of the scatterometer. The observed rotation of ENW in opposition to the rotation of the surface current clearly demonstrates that the scatterometer measures stress rather than winds. The clear differences between the distributions of wind and stress and the possible inadequacy of turbulent parameterization affirm the need of surface stress vector measurements, which were not available before the scatterometers. The opposite sign of the stress vorticity to current vorticity implies that the atmosphere spins down the current rotation through momentum transport. Coincident high SST and ENW over the southern extension of the meander enhance evaporation and latent heat flux, which cools the ocean. The atmosphere is found to provide negative feedback to ocean current and temperature gradients. Distribution of ENW convergence implies ascending motion on the downwind side of local SST maxima and descending air on the upwind side and acceleration of surface wind stress over warm water (deceleration over cool water); the convection may escalate the contrast of ENW over warm and cool water set up by the dependence of turbulent mixing on stability; this relation exerts a positive feedback to the ENW–SST relation. The temperature sounding measured by the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder(AIRS) is consistent with the spatial coherence between the cloud-top temperature provided by the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP) and SST. Thus ocean mesoscale SST anomalies associated with the persistent meanders may have a long-term effect well above the midlatitude atmospheric boundary layer, an observation not addressed in the past.
Appears in Collections:JPL TRS 1992+

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