12th Conference on Interactions of the Sea and Atmosphere


Revisiting the effects of surface fluxes on rapid marine cyclogenesis

Wendell A. Nuss, NPS, Monterey, CA; and D. K. Miller

The role of surface sensible and latent heat fluxes in rapid oceanic cyclone development was a common topic in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The debate centered on the importance of these fluxes in overall storm development. Upward fluxes of water vapor and heat contribute to decreased low-level static stability (Reed and Albright 1986) and can pre-condition the storm environment for subsequent development (Kuo and Low-Nam 1990, and Kuo, Reed, and Low-Nam 1990). Depending on the phasing of the low-level fluxes relative to the baroclinic zone, the fluxes could either damp or amplify overall cyclogenesis during the period of storm development (Nuss and Anthes 1987, and Kuo, Reed, and Low-Nam 1990). The purpose of this study is to revisit the role of surface sensible and latent heat fluxes for a case of rapid oceanic storm development in order to better quantify and categorize, in both space and time relative to the developing surface cyclone, instances when surface sensible and latent heat fluxes amplify or dampen its development.

In order to accomplish the stated purpose, this study will examine the sensitivity of mesoscale model forecast solutions to varied sea surface temperature (SST) configurations for a case study observed during the PACJET Field Experiment which took place on 13 February 2001 in the vicinity of the California Bight region. In this particular case, Touchton (2002) noted that the air-sea fluxes in the early stages of cyclone development may have helped [1] to enhance its associated low-level baroclinic zone and [2] destabilize the lower atmosphere making the environment potentially unstable. Observations from PACJET, in addition to satellite imagery and standard observations, will be used to confirm structures generated by the mesoscale model.

extended abstract  Extended Abstract (252K)

Session 2, extratropical atmosphere-ocean interaction
Monday, 10 February 2003, 10:45 AM-2:15 PM

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