Large-scale state and evolution of the atmosphere and ocean during PISTON 2018

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  • 1 Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA
  • | 2 Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA, USA
  • | 3 Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA
  • | 4 Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA
  • | 5 College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA
  • | 6 Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA
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Abstract

The Propagation of Intraseasonal Tropical Oscillations (PISTON) experiment conducted a field campaign inAugust-October 2018. The R/V Thomas G. Thompson made two cruises in thewestern North Pacific region north of Palau and east of the Philippines. Using select field observations and global observational and reanalysis data sets, this study describes the large-scale state and evolution of the atmosphere and ocean during these cruises. Intraseasonal variability was weak during the field program, except for a period of suppressed convection in October. Tropical cyclone activity, on the other hand, was strong. Variability at the ship location was characterized by periods of low-level easterly atmospheric flow with embedded westward propagating synoptic-scale atmospheric disturbances, punctuated by periods of strong low-level westerly winds that were both connected to the Asian monsoon westerlies and associated with tropical cyclones. In the most dramatic case, westerlies persisted for days during and after tropical cyclone Jebi had passed to the north of the ship. In these periods, the sea surface temperature was reduced by a couple of degrees by both wind mixing and net surface heat fluxes that were strongly (~200Wm−2) out of the ocean, due to both large latent heat flux and cloud shading associated with widespread deep convection. Underway conductivity-temperature transects showed dramatic cooling and deepening of the ocean mixed layer and erosion of the barrier layer after the passage of Typhoon Mangkhut due to entrainment of cooler water from below. Strong zonal currents observed over at least the upper 400 meters were likely related to the generation and propagation of near-inertial currents.

Abstract

The Propagation of Intraseasonal Tropical Oscillations (PISTON) experiment conducted a field campaign inAugust-October 2018. The R/V Thomas G. Thompson made two cruises in thewestern North Pacific region north of Palau and east of the Philippines. Using select field observations and global observational and reanalysis data sets, this study describes the large-scale state and evolution of the atmosphere and ocean during these cruises. Intraseasonal variability was weak during the field program, except for a period of suppressed convection in October. Tropical cyclone activity, on the other hand, was strong. Variability at the ship location was characterized by periods of low-level easterly atmospheric flow with embedded westward propagating synoptic-scale atmospheric disturbances, punctuated by periods of strong low-level westerly winds that were both connected to the Asian monsoon westerlies and associated with tropical cyclones. In the most dramatic case, westerlies persisted for days during and after tropical cyclone Jebi had passed to the north of the ship. In these periods, the sea surface temperature was reduced by a couple of degrees by both wind mixing and net surface heat fluxes that were strongly (~200Wm−2) out of the ocean, due to both large latent heat flux and cloud shading associated with widespread deep convection. Underway conductivity-temperature transects showed dramatic cooling and deepening of the ocean mixed layer and erosion of the barrier layer after the passage of Typhoon Mangkhut due to entrainment of cooler water from below. Strong zonal currents observed over at least the upper 400 meters were likely related to the generation and propagation of near-inertial currents.

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