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Xiangzhou Song

Abstract

Using buoy observations from 2004 to 2010 and newly released atmospheric reanalysis and satellite altimetry-derived geostrophic currents from 1993 to 2017, the quantitative contribution of daily mean surface currents to air–sea turbulent heat flux and wind stress uncertainties in the Gulf Stream (GS) region is investigated based on bulk formulas. At four buoy stations, the daily mean latent (sensible) heat flux difference between the estimates with and without surface currents range from −18 (−4) to 20 (4) W m−2, while the daily mean wind stress difference ranges from −0.04 to 0.02 N m−2. The positive values indicate higher estimates with opposite directions between surface currents and absolute winds. The transition between positive and negative differences is significantly associated with synoptic-scale weather variations. The uncertainties based on buoy observations are approximately 7% and 3% for wind stress and turbulent heat fluxes, respectively. The new reanalysis and satellite geostrophic currents confirm the uncertainties identified by buoy observations with acceptable discrepancies and provide a spatial view of the uncertainty fields. The mean geostrophic currents are aligned with the surface wind along the GS; therefore, the turbulent heat fluxes and wind stress will be “underestimated” with surface currents included. However, on both sides of the GS, the surface flow can be upwind due to possible mechanisms of eddy–mean flow interactions and recirculations, resulting in higher turbulent heat flux estimations. The wind stress and turbulent heat flux uncertainties experience significant seasonal variations and show long-term trends.

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Xiangzhou Song

Abstract

Sea surface currents are commonly neglected when estimating the air–sea turbulent heat fluxes in bulk formulas. Using buoy observations in the Bohai Sea, this paper investigated the effects of near-coast multiscale currents on the quantification of turbulent heat fluxes, namely, latent heat flux (LH) and sensible heat flux (SH). The maximum current reached 1 m s−1 in magnitude, and a steady northeastward current of 0.16 m s−1 appeared in the southern Bohai Strait. The predominant tidal signal was the semidiurnal current, followed by diurnal components. The mean absolute surface wind was from the northeast with a speed of approximately 3 m s−1. The surface winds at a height of 11 m were dominated by the East Asian monsoon. As a result of upwind flow, the monthly mean differences in LH and SH between the estimates with and without surface currents ranged from 1 to 2 W m−2 in July (stable boundary layer) and November (unstable boundary layer). The hourly differences were on average 10 W m−2 and ranged from 0 to 24 W m−2 due to changes in the relative wind speed by high-frequency rotating surface tidal currents. The diurnal variability in LH/SH was demonstrated under stable and unstable boundary conditions. Observations provided an accurate benchmark for flux comparisons. The newly updated atmospheric reanalysis products MERRA-2 and ERA5 were superior to the 1° OAFlux data at this buoy location. However, future efforts in heat flux computation are still needed to, for example, consider surface currents and resolve diurnal variations.

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Xiangzhou Song and Lisan Yu

Abstract

The study examined global variability of air–sea sensible heat flux (SHF) from 1980 to 2009 and the large-scale atmospheric and ocean circulations that gave rise to this variability. The contribution of high-latitude wintertime SHF was identified, and the relative importance of the effect of the sea–air temperature difference versus the effect of wind on decadal SHF variability was analyzed using an empirical orthogonal function (EOF) approach. The study showed that global SHF anomalies are strongly modulated by SHF at high latitudes (poleward of 45°) during winter seasons. Decadal variability of global wintertime SHF can be reasonably represented by the sum of two leading EOF modes, namely, the boreal wintertime SHF in the northern oceans and the austral wintertime SHF in the southern oceans. The study also showed that global wintertime SHF is modulated by the prominent modes of the large-scale atmospheric circulation at high latitudes. The increase of global SHF in the 1990s is attributable to the strengthening of the Southern Hemisphere annular mode index, while the decrease of global SHF after 2000 is due primarily to the downward trend of the Arctic Oscillation index. This study identified the important effects of wind direction and speed on SHF variability. Changes in winds modify the sea–air temperature gradient by advecting cold and dry air from continents and by imposing changes in wind-driven oceanic processes that affect sea surface temperature (SST). The pattern of air temperature anomalies dominates over the pattern of SST anomalies and dictates the pattern of decadal SHF variability.

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Xiangzhou Song, Chunlin Ning, Yongliang Duan, Huiwu Wang, Chao Li, Yang Yang, Jianjun Liu, and Weidong Yu

Abstract

Six-month buoy-based heat flux observations from the poorly sampled tropical southeastern Indian Ocean are examined to document the extremes during three tropical cyclones (TCs) from December 2018 to May 2019. The most striking feature at the mooring site (115.2°E, 16.9°S) during the TCs is the extensively suppressed diurnal cycle of net surface flux, with a mean daytime (nighttime) reduction of 470 (131) W m-2, a peak decrease at approximately noon of 695 W m-2 and an extreme drop during TC Riley of 800 W m-2. The mean surface cooling in the daytime is primarily contributed by the 370 W m-2 decrease in shortwave radiation associated with the increased cloudiness. The air-sea turbulent heat fluxes increase by approximately 151 W m-2 in response to the enhanced wind speed under near-neutral boundary conditions. The daily mean rainfall-induced cooling is 8 W m-2, with a maximum magnitude of 90 W m-2. The mean values, seasonal variation, and synoptic variability of the characteristic heat fluxes are used to assess the new reanalysis data from ERA5 and MERRA2 and the analyzed OAFlux. The overall performance of the high-frequency net heat flux estimates at the synoptic scale is satisfactory, but the four flux components exhibit different quality levels. A serious error is that ERA5 and MERRA2 poorly represent TCs, and they show significant daily mean Qnet biases with opposite directions, -59 W m-2 (largely due to the overestimated latent heat with a bias of -76 W m-2) and 50 W m-2 (largely due to the overestimated shortwave radiation with a bias of 41 W m-2), respectively.

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