Air-Sea Coupling in an Eastern Boundary Current Region (Invited Presentation)

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Monday, 5 January 2015: 1:30 PM
130 (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Roger M. Samelson, Oregon State Univ., Corvallis, OR; and D. B. Chelton, E. D. Skyllingstad, A. Kurapov, and N. Perlin

Over the past decade, global analyses based on satellite remote-sensing data have revealed a systematic effect of mesoscale sea-surface temperature (SST) variations on surface winds and wind stress ("SST-wind coupling"). In eastern boundary current (EBC) regimes, mesoscale SST variability is strongly forced by wind-driven coastal upwelling, resulting in relatively cool SST adjacent to the coast and energetic mesoscale SST variability throughout the EBC region. The mesoscale wind structure over the coastal ocean can also be strongly affected by coastal orography. The importance of these interactions is illustrated by model and observational results for the California Current System (CCS) and the associated coastal upwelling zone over the continental shelf along the US west coast. Preliminary results from recent modeling suggest that SST-wind coupling is a fundamental control on the climate of the upper ocean and lower atmosphere in the CCS region, including the strength and location of the core of the equatorward California Current itself.