Quantifying Changes in the Florida Synoptic-Scale Sea-Breeze Regime Climatology

Harrison Woodson Bowles aMeteorology Program, Applied Aviation Sciences Department, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Florida

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Sarah E. Strazzo aMeteorology Program, Applied Aviation Sciences Department, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Florida

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https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1332-3135
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Abstract

Florida’s summertime precipitation patterns are in part influenced by convergence between the synoptic-scale wind and local sea-breeze fronts that form along the east and west coasts of the peninsula. While the National Weather Service previously defined nine sea-breeze regimes resulting from variations in the synoptic-scale vector wind field near Tampa, Florida, these regimes were developed using a shorter 18-yr period and examined primarily for the purposes of short-term weather prediction. This study employs reanalysis data to develop a full 30-yr climatology of the Florida sea-breeze regime distribution and analyze the composite mean atmospheric conditions associated with each regime. Further, given that 1) the synoptic-scale wind primarily varies as a result of movement in the western ridge of the North Atlantic subtropical high (NASH), and 2) previous studies suggest long-term shifts in the mean position of the NASH western ridge, this study also examines variability and trends in the sea-breeze regime distribution and its relationship to rainy-day frequency over a longer 60-yr period. Results indicate that synoptic-scale flow from the west through southwest, which enhances precipitation probabilities along the eastern half of the peninsula, has increased in frequency, while flow from the east through northeast has decreased in frequency. These changes in the sea-breeze regime distribution may be partially responsible for increases in rainy-day frequency during June–August over northeastern Florida, though results suggest that other factors likely contribute to interannual variability in precipitation across the southern peninsula.

© 2024 American Meteorological Society. This published article is licensed under the terms of the default AMS reuse license. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Sarah E. Strazzo, strazzos@erau.edu

Abstract

Florida’s summertime precipitation patterns are in part influenced by convergence between the synoptic-scale wind and local sea-breeze fronts that form along the east and west coasts of the peninsula. While the National Weather Service previously defined nine sea-breeze regimes resulting from variations in the synoptic-scale vector wind field near Tampa, Florida, these regimes were developed using a shorter 18-yr period and examined primarily for the purposes of short-term weather prediction. This study employs reanalysis data to develop a full 30-yr climatology of the Florida sea-breeze regime distribution and analyze the composite mean atmospheric conditions associated with each regime. Further, given that 1) the synoptic-scale wind primarily varies as a result of movement in the western ridge of the North Atlantic subtropical high (NASH), and 2) previous studies suggest long-term shifts in the mean position of the NASH western ridge, this study also examines variability and trends in the sea-breeze regime distribution and its relationship to rainy-day frequency over a longer 60-yr period. Results indicate that synoptic-scale flow from the west through southwest, which enhances precipitation probabilities along the eastern half of the peninsula, has increased in frequency, while flow from the east through northeast has decreased in frequency. These changes in the sea-breeze regime distribution may be partially responsible for increases in rainy-day frequency during June–August over northeastern Florida, though results suggest that other factors likely contribute to interannual variability in precipitation across the southern peninsula.

© 2024 American Meteorological Society. This published article is licensed under the terms of the default AMS reuse license. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Sarah E. Strazzo, strazzos@erau.edu
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