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Observations of Coupling between Surface Wind Stress and Sea Surface Temperature in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Public Deposited

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  • Satellite measurements of surface wind stress from the QuikSCAT scatterometer and sea surface temperature (SST) from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission Microwave Imager are analyzed for the three-month period 21 July–20 October 1999 to investigate ocean–atmosphere coupling in the eastern tropical Pacific. Oceanic tropical instability waves (TIWs) with periods of 20–40 days and wavelengths of 1000–2000 km perturb the SST fronts that bracket both sides of the equatorial cold tongue, which is centered near 1°S to the east of 130°W. These perturbations are characterized by cusp-shaped features that propagate systematically westward on both sides of the equator. The space–time structures of these SST perturbations are reproduced with remarkable detail in the surface wind stress field. The wind stress divergence is shown to be linearly related to the downwind component of the SST gradient with a response on the south side of the cold tongue that is about twice that on the north side. The wind stress curl is linearly related to the crosswind component of the SST gradient with a response that is approximately half that of the wind stress divergence response to the downwind SST gradient. The perturbed SST and wind stress fields propagate synchronously westward with the TIWs. This close coupling between SST and wind stress supports the Wallace et al. hypothesis that surface winds vary in response to SST modification of atmospheric boundary layer stability.
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  • Chelton, Dudley B., and Coauthors, 2001: Observations of Coupling between Surface Wind Stress and Sea Surface Temperature in the Eastern Tropical Pacific. Journal of Climate, 14, 1479–1498.
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  • The research presented in this paper was supported by Contracts 957580 and 959351 from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory funded under the NSCAT Announcement of Opportunity, NASA Grant NAS5- 32965 for funding of Ocean VectorWinds Science Team activities, NOAA Grant NA96GP0368 from the Office of Global Programs, NASA TRMM Contract NAS5- 9919, NASA’s Earth Science Information Partnership through Contract SUB1998-101 from the University of Alabama in Huntsville and NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research.
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  • description.provenance : Made available in DSpace on 2012-02-13T21:20:57Z (GMT). No. of bitstreams: 1 CheltonDudleyB.CEOAS.ObservationsCouplingBetween.pdf: 1028928 bytes, checksum: 6f85327757b45d95f719f0aa7df86ca3 (MD5) Previous issue date: 2001-04
  • description.provenance : Submitted by Deborah Campbell (deborah.campbell@oregonstate.edu) on 2012-02-13T21:20:57Z No. of bitstreams: 1 CheltonDudleyB.CEOAS.ObservationsCouplingBetween.pdf: 1028928 bytes, checksum: 6f85327757b45d95f719f0aa7df86ca3 (MD5)

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