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Tidal and atmospheric forcing of the upper ocean in the Gulf of California, Part 2: Surface heat flux Public Deposited

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  • Satellite infrared imagery and coastal meteorological data for March 1984 through February 1985 are used to estimate the net annual surface heat flux for the northern Gulf of California. The average annual surface heat flux for the area north of Guaymas and Santa Rosalia is estimated to be +74 W m-2 for the 1984–1985 time period. This is comparable to the +20–50 W m-2 previously obtained from heat and freshwater transport estimates made with hydrographic surveys from different years and months. The spatial distribution of the net surface heat flux shows a net gain of heat over the whole northern gulf. Except for a local maximum near San Esteban Island, the largest heat gain (+110–120 W m-2) occurs in the Ballenas and Salsipuedes channels, where strong tidal mixing produces anomalously cold sea surface temperatures (SSTs) over much of the year. The lowest heat gain occurs in the Guaymas Basin (+40–50 W m-2), where SSTs are consistently warmer. In the relatively shallow northern basin the net surface heat flux is fairly uniform, with a net annual gain of approximately +70 W m-2. A local minimum in heat gain (approximately +60 W m-2) is observed over the shelf in the northwest, where spring and summer surface temperatures are particularly high. A similar minimum in heat gain over the shelf was observed in a separate study in which historical SSTs and 7 years (1979–1986) of meteorological data from Puerto Penasco were used to estimate the net surface heat flux for the northern basin. In that study, however, the heat fluxes were higher, with a gain of +100 W m-2 over the shelf and +114 W m-2 in the northern basin. These larger values are directly attributable to the higher humidities in the 1979–1986 study compared to the 1984-1985 satellite study. Significant interannual variations in humidity appear to occur in the northern gulf, with relatively high humidities during El Niño years and low humidities during anti-El Niño years. High humidities reduce evaporation and the associated latent heat loss, promoting a net annual heat gain. In the northern Gulf of California, however, tidal mixing appears to play a key role in the observed gain of heat. Deep mixing in the island region produces a persistent pool of cold water which is mixed horizontally by the large-scale circulation, lowering surface temperatures over most of the northern gulf. These cold SSTs decrease evaporation by reducing the saturation vapor pressure of the overlying air. As a result, heat loss is substantially reduced, even when humidities are low. By removing heat from the surface, tidal mixing alters the time scale of air-sea interaction and reduces or possibly even inhibits the formation of deep water masses via convection. Over climatological timescales, it may be tidal mixing that ultimately maintains the estuarinelike circulation in the northern Gulf of California, differentiating it from the Mediterranean and Red seas, which lose heat to the atmosphere.
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  • Paden, C.A., C.D. Winant, and Mark R. Abbott, 1993, Tidal and atmospheric forcing of the upper ocean in the Gulf of California, Part 2: Surface heat flux, J. Geophys. Res., 98, 20,091–20,104.
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  • This study was supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration through contracts to Mark R. Abbott and through the Graduate Student Researchers Fellowship Program (NTG-50158). Support for the field program was provided by the Office of Naval Research (contracts N00014-80-C-0440, N00014-85-C-0104, N00014-87-K-0005) and by the National Science Foundation (grant NSF-OCE83-10639).
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  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Linda Kathman(linda.kathman@oregonstate.edu) on 2010-04-14T16:26:33Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 1 Paden Winant Abbott 1993 JGR.pdf: 3442754 bytes, checksum: dd77a96f8ed737254e90dea11611bc93 (MD5)
  • Vol. 98 No. C11 (1993)
  • Journal of geophysical research
  • description.provenance : Made available in DSpace on 2010-04-14T16:26:33Z (GMT). No. of bitstreams: 1 Paden Winant Abbott 1993 JGR.pdf: 3442754 bytes, checksum: dd77a96f8ed737254e90dea11611bc93 (MD5) Previous issue date: 1993-11-15
  • description.provenance : Submitted by Linda Lamb (llamb@coas.oregonstate.edu) on 2010-04-14T15:54:41Z No. of bitstreams: 1 Paden Winant Abbott 1993 JGR.pdf: 3442754 bytes, checksum: dd77a96f8ed737254e90dea11611bc93 (MD5)
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  • 0148-0227

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