The effects of rainfall on temperature and salinity in the surface layer of the equatorial Pacific Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/w37639290

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  • Measurements of temperature and salinity in the upper 5 m of the ocean along the equator showed cool fresh anomalies due to rain showers. The measurements were made between 140 W and 110 W during April 1987, an El Nino year. The eastern equatorial Pacific was characterized by weak winds (3 m/s average), high rainfall (1.6 cm/day), and warm surface temperatures (28.4 C). Measurements of temperature were made from a catamaran float at 0.5 and 1 m depth and at 5 m depth from the ship. Salinity was measured at a depth of 1 m from the float and 5 m from the ship. The float was towed off of the port side of the ship outside of the bow wake. Near-surface low temperature and low salinity anomalies due to cool rainfall were encountered. These anomalies were on average cool and fresh by 0.02 C and 0.2 PSTJ with maximum values of 0.5 C and 1.6 PSU. The horizontal extent of the anomalies ranged from less than 10 to more than 100 km. Rainfall depths estimated from salt conservation agreed roughly with shipboard rain-gauge measurements. The characteristic lifetime of the anomalies, estimated from the ratio of the average rain depth to average rain rate, was about 10 hrs. Rainfall temperatures were computed from the T-S mixing curves for three large, newly-formed anomalies. The average rainfall temperature was 21 C. Ocean buoyancy fluxes estimated for intense rain showers were an order of magnitude larger than the fluxes in the absence of rain.
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