16th Conference on Air-Sea Interaction
Eighth Conference on Coastal Atmospheric and Oceanic Prediction and Processes


A Climatology of Cold Air Outbreaks over the Gulf of Mexico

Charlene Forgue, Florida State Univ., Tallahassee, FL; and C. A. Clayson

The occurrence of cold air outbreaks over the Gulf of Mexico are the cause of much of the severe weather during the winter months in the Southeast, and the air mass modification and return flow characteristics are still not well forecasted. The amount of in situ observations of the air-sea flux state before, during, and after a cold air outbreak is limited, and observations from experiments have occurred only in the western part of the basin during GUFMEX. Given the difference in the ocean conditions between the western and the eastern part of the basin due to the Loop Current, it is to be anticipated that there would be differences in the air-sea interaction across the Gulf.

In this talk we will present the results of an analysis of more than 25 years of NCEP NARR data to provide a climatology of cold air outbreaks over the Gulf of Mexico. It will be shown that cold air outbreaks provide the significant source of heat loss in all parts of the basin during the winter months, and that there are differences in the number, length, and strength of the outbreaks between the western and eastern basin. Interannual variability in the fluxes due to the outbreaks will also be discussed, and their relationship to ENSO will be analyzed.

Joint Session 10, Coastal Mesoscale Circulations-II
Wednesday, 14 January 2009, 10:30 AM-12:00 PM, Room 128B

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