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Niklas Schneider and Bo Qiu

1. Introduction Satellite-borne observations of the atmospheric response to fronts of sea surface temperature (SST) have revolutionized the understanding of midlatitude air–sea interaction ( Xie 2004 ; Small et al. 2008 ). While the traditional, large-scale view holds that the ocean primarily responds to forcing by the atmosphere, the ocean mesoscale shows a ubiquitous imprint of SST fronts on the atmospheric boundary layer ( Chelton and Xie 2010 ; Xie 2004 ). For scales shorter than about

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Larry W. O’Neill, Tracy Haack, Dudley B. Chelton, and Eric Skyllingstad

enhancing rainfall, suggesting a pathway for the local influence of mesoscale SST fronts in shaping the climate in the Atlantic ( Minobe et al. 2008 ; Joyce et al. 2009 ; Minobe et al. 2010 ; Brachet et al. 2012 ; Takatama et al. 2012 ; Lambaerts et al. 2013 ). This analysis proposes an alternative explanation for the existence of the GSCZ in the time-mean wind and pressure fields. This work is motivated by a map of the time-mean surface wind divergence field in the northwest Atlantic ( Fig. 1a

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