27th Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology


Coherent structures in ocean skin temperature variability

Christopher J. Zappa, Columbia University, Palisades, NY; and A. T. Jessup, J. T. Farrar, and R. A. Weller

Airborne infrared (IR) remote sensing techniques have been shown to quickly characterize the spatial and temporal scales of ocean skin temperature as well as a wide variety of processes that are important to the variability of air-sea fluxes of heat, mass, and momentum. Measurements of ocean skin temperature variability were made using a longwave IR imaging system aboard a Cessna Skymaster during the main field campaigns of the CBLAST-Low (Coupled Boundary Layers, Air-Sea Transfer in Low Winds) experiment in August/September 2002 and July/August 2003 off the south coast of Martha's Vineyard.

Fine-scale snapshot imagery of ocean skin temperature elucidate a variety of mechanisms related to atmospheric and sub-surface phenomena that produce horizontal variability over a wide range of scales that decreased with increasing wind speed. The distribution of length scales are dominated by different mechanisms including coherent ramping structures, coherent ramping structures within an active internal wave field, and Langmuir circulation. Comparisons of the IR measurements to in-situ sea-surface microlayer characteristics and a suite of moored, drifting, and towed ocean measurements are used to investigate the mechanisms that affect the spatial and temporal scales of ocean skin temperature variability. Results are used to evaluate the ability of a warm-layer model to describe the observed phenomena.

extended abstract  Extended Abstract (576K)

wrf recording  Recorded presentation

Session 7C, Special Session: CBLAST LOW
Wednesday, 26 April 2006, 8:00 AM-9:45 AM, Regency Grand BR 1-3

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