The roles of latent and sensible heat fluxes in the atmospheric response to sea surface temperature fronts

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Monday, 5 January 2015
Kohei Takatama, International Pacific Research Center/Univ. of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI; and N. Schneider, H. Nakamura, M. Nonaka, and B. Taguchi

Recently, the impacts of sharp fronts of sea surface temperature on the mid-latitude atmosphere and storm track have come in focus. To investigate the relative roles of frontally induced air-sea sensible heat fluxes that directly affect lower tropospheric baroclinicity, and of latent heat fluxes that cause diabatic forcing further aloft, we conduct experiments with a regional atmospheric model in the northwest Pacific. We compare integrations with high resolution sea surface temperature applied to either the surface sensible or latent heat fluxes, and show the expected dominance of frontally induced precipitation in response to high SST forcing of the latent heat fluxes. Preliminary analyses indicate a stronger response of the storm track in the lower troposphere to latent heat fluxes, however, aloft the responses are comparable.