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Benjamin W. Barr
,
Shuyi S. Chen
, and
Christopher W. Fairall

Abstract

Air–sea exchange in high winds is one of the most important but poorly represented processes in tropical cyclone (TC) prediction models. Effects of sea spray on air–sea heat fluxes in TCs are particularly difficult to model due to complex sea states and lack of observations in extreme wind and wave conditions. This study introduces a new sea-state-dependent air–sea heat flux parameterization with spray, which is developed using the Unified Wave Interface–Coupled Model (UWIN-CM). Impacts of spray on air–sea heat fluxes are investigated across a wide range of winds, waves, and atmospheric and ocean conditions in five TCs of various sizes and intensities. Spray generation with variable size distribution is explicitly represented by surface wave properties such as wave dissipation, significant wave height, and dominant phase speed, which may be uncorrelated with local winds. The sea-state-dependent spray mass flux is substantially different than a wind-dependent flux, especially when wave shoaling occurs with enhanced wave dissipation near the coast during TC landfall. Spray increases the air–sea enthalpy flux near the radius of maximum wind (RMW) by approximately 5%–20% when mean 10-m wind speed at the RMW reaches 40–50 m s−1. These values can be amplified significantly by coastal wave shoaling. Spray latent heat fluxes may be dampened in the eyewall due to high saturation ratio, and they consistently produce a moistening and cooling effect outside the eyewall. Spray strongly modifies the total sensible heat flux and can cause either a warming or cooling effect at the RMW depending on eyewall saturation ratio.

Significance Statement

Fluxes of heat and moisture from the ocean to the atmosphere are important for hurricane intensification, but the impact of sea spray generated by breaking waves on these fluxes is not well understood. We develop a new model for heat fluxes with spray that accounts for how waves control spray, and we apply this model to a set of five simulated hurricanes to better understand the broad range of ways that spray impacts heat fluxes in high wind conditions. We find that spray significantly affects heat fluxes in hurricanes and that impacts are strongly controlled by waves, which are not always correlated to winds. This research improves our understanding of how spray affects heat fluxes in hurricanes and provides a foundation for future studies investigating sea spray and its impacts on high-impact weather systems.

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Virendra P. Ghate
,
Mark A. Miller
,
Bruce A. Albrecht
, and
Christopher W. Fairall

Abstract

Stratocumulus-topped boundary layers (STBLs) observed in three different regions are described in the context of their thermodynamic and radiative properties. The primary dataset consists of 131 soundings from the southeastern Pacific (SEP), 90 soundings from the island of Graciosa (GRW) in the North Atlantic, and 83 soundings from the U.S. Southern Great Plains (SGP). A new technique that makes an attempt to preserve the depths of the sublayers within an STBL is proposed for averaging the profiles of thermodynamic and radiative variables. A one-dimensional radiative transfer model known as the Rapid Radiative Transfer Model was used to compute the radiative fluxes within the STBL. The SEP STBLs were characterized by a stronger and deeper inversion, together with thicker clouds, lower free-tropospheric moisture, and higher radiative flux divergence across the cloud layer, as compared to the GRW STBLs. Compared to the STBLs over the marine locations, the STBLs over SGP had higher wind shear and a negligible (−0.41 g kg−1) jump in mixing ratio across the inversion. Despite the differences in many of the STBL thermodynamic parameters, the differences in liquid water path at the three locations were statistically insignificant. The soundings were further classified as well mixed or decoupled based on the difference between the surface and cloud-base virtual potential temperature. The decoupled STBLs were deeper than the well-mixed STBLs at all three locations. Statistically insignificant differences in surface latent heat flux (LHF) between well-mixed and decoupled STBLs suggest that parameters other than LHF are responsible for producing decoupling.

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Sue Chen
,
Maria Flatau
,
Tommy G. Jensen
,
Toshiaki Shinoda
,
Jerome Schmidt
,
Paul May
,
James Cummings
,
Ming Liu
,
Paul E. Ciesielski
,
Christopher W. Fairall
,
Ren-Chieh Lien
,
Dariusz B. Baranowski
,
Nan-Hsun Chi
,
Simon de Szoeke
, and
James Edson

Abstract

The diurnal variability and the environmental conditions that support the moisture resurgence of MJO events observed during the Cooperative Indian Ocean Experiment on Intraseasonal Variability (CINDY)/DYNAMO campaign in October–December 2011 are investigated using in situ observations and the cloud-resolving fully air–ocean–wave Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere Mesoscale Prediction System (COAMPS). Spectral density and wavelet analysis of the total precipitable water (TPW) constructed from the DYNAMO soundings and TRMM satellite precipitation reveal a deep layer of vapor resurgence during the observed Wheeler and Hendon real-time multivariate MJO index phases 5–8 (MJO suppressed phase), which include diurnal, quasi-2-, quasi-3–4-, quasi-6–8-, and quasi-16-day oscillations. A similar oscillatory pattern is found in the DYNAMO moorings sea surface temperature analysis, suggesting a tightly coupled atmosphere and ocean system during these periods. COAMPS hindcast focused on the 12–16 November 2011 event suggests that both the diurnal sea surface temperature (SST) pumping and horizontal and vertical moisture transport associated with the westward propagating mixed Rossby–Gravity (MRG) waves play an essential role in the moisture resurgence during this period. Idealized COAMPS simulations of MRG waves are used to estimate the MRG and diurnal SST contributions to the overall moisture increase. These idealized MRG sensitivity experiments showed the TPW increase varies from 9% to 13% with the largest changes occurring in the simulations that included a diurnal SST variation of 2.5°C as observed.

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