THE ENERGY ACQUIRED BY THE ATMOSPHERE OVER THE OCEANS THROUGH CONDENSATION AND THROUGH HEATING FROM THE SEA SURFACE

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  • 1 Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California
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Abstract

Making use of previously derived seasonal and annual values of sensible heat exchange and precipitation for the oceans, charts have been prepared which show the total energy acquired by the atmosphere over the North Atlantic and North Pacific through the conduction of sensible heat from the sea surface and through the condensation of water vapor.

The winter values for the total energy have been compared with Wexler's (1944) values for the total heat acquired by the atmosphere within the layer from the surface to 3 km over the northern hemisphere during February. An excellent agreement is found between the two sets of values within the western Atlantic area. However, a difference chart of the two sets of data indicates that Wexler obtains higher values in the far western and southeastern portions of the oceans but lower values over the central and northeastern portions of the oceans. An analysis of the problem leads to the conclusion that the two quantities arrived at by different methods should agree only in the absence of mean vertical motion within the atmosphere. In the presence of mean vertical motion it is reasoned that the two sets of data will differ, the sign of the difference depending upon whether there is divergence or convergence within the 3-km layer over the region, and the magnitude of the difference depending upon the net amount of convergence or divergence.

Abstract

Making use of previously derived seasonal and annual values of sensible heat exchange and precipitation for the oceans, charts have been prepared which show the total energy acquired by the atmosphere over the North Atlantic and North Pacific through the conduction of sensible heat from the sea surface and through the condensation of water vapor.

The winter values for the total energy have been compared with Wexler's (1944) values for the total heat acquired by the atmosphere within the layer from the surface to 3 km over the northern hemisphere during February. An excellent agreement is found between the two sets of values within the western Atlantic area. However, a difference chart of the two sets of data indicates that Wexler obtains higher values in the far western and southeastern portions of the oceans but lower values over the central and northeastern portions of the oceans. An analysis of the problem leads to the conclusion that the two quantities arrived at by different methods should agree only in the absence of mean vertical motion within the atmosphere. In the presence of mean vertical motion it is reasoned that the two sets of data will differ, the sign of the difference depending upon whether there is divergence or convergence within the 3-km layer over the region, and the magnitude of the difference depending upon the net amount of convergence or divergence.

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