Wednesday, 6 August 2003: 10:30 AM
Sea Breeze Forecasting and Applications along the New Jersey Coast
Sea Breeze fronts concentrate airborne particles (dust, pollen, insects, etc.) so that they are visible in the backscatter from NOAA weather radars operated in clear air mode. Sea breeze fronts are observed to penetrate rapidly inland, at times crossing the entire state of New Jersey and moving into eastern Pennsylvania in a matter of hours. The sea breeze front marks the location of strong atmospheric temperature gradients and potential severe weather. Sea breeze development is directly linked to the land-sea temperature difference, which can be greatly affected by coastal upwelling and downwelling. Coastal upwelling due to synoptic scale southwesterly winds can cause summertime sea surface temperatures to decrease by 5-10 degrees Celsius along the coast of New Jersey. Southwesterly winds are associated with the large scale Bermuda high which can lock in hot and hazy weather for several days, resulting in high land temperatures. Thus the potential for the strongest sea breezes exists on during coastal upwelling events. The occurrence of a sea breeze, its intensity, and its landward penetration are of interest to power utilities for load forecasting and design studies for renewable energy sources, and to the health care industry due to its effect on pollen distributions.
A coastal observing network consisting of satellites, shore-based HF radars, and autonomous underwater gliders is used to monitor coastal upwelling along the New Jersey coast. An ocean model has demonstrated skill in predicting the occurrence of coastal upwelling and downwelling, with data assimilation experiments indicating there is still room for significant research on the best way to assimilate the newer HF Radar observations. A high-resolution atmospheric model that uses the satellite observed sea surface temperature for the ocean boundary condition indicates that coastal upwelling greatly increases the strength of the sea breeze front and, to a lesser extent, increases the intensity and landward penetration. Data from the NOAA weather radars and a statewide network of weather stations is used for comparison. Efforts to couple the high-resolution atmospheric model with the data assimilative coastal ocean model are ongoing.