Diurnal variation in surface latent heat flux (LHF) and the effects of diurnal variations in LHF-related variables on the climatological LHF are examined using observations from the Global Tropical Moored Buoy Array. The estimated amplitude of the climatological diurnal LHF over the Indo-Pacific warm pool and the equatorial Pacific and Atlantic cold tongues is remarkable, with maximum values exceeding 20.0 W m−2. Diurnal variability of sea surface skin temperature (SSTskin) is the primary contributor to the diurnal LHF amplitude. Because the diurnal SSTskin amplitude has an inverse relationship with surface wind speed over the tropical oceans, an inverse spatial pattern between the diurnal LHF amplitude and surface wind speed results. Resolving diurnal variations in the SSTskin and wind improves the estimate of the climatological LHF by properly capturing the daytime SSTskin and daily mean wind speed, respectively. The diurnal SSTskin-associated contribution is large over the warm pool and equatorial cold tongues where low wind speeds tend to cause strong diurnal SSTskin warming, while the magnitude associated with the diurnal winds is large over the highly dynamic environment of the intertropical convergence zone. The total diurnal contribution is about 9.0 W m−2 on average over the buoy sites. There appears to be a power function (linear) relationship between the diurnal SSTskin-associated (wind-associated) contribution and surface mean wind speed (wind speed enhancement from diurnal variability). The total contribution from diurnal variability can be estimated accurately from high-frequency surface wind measurements using these relationships.
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