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Mechanisms of Summertime Subtropical Southern Indian Ocean Sea Surface Temperature Variability: On the Importance of Humidity Anomalies and the Meridional Advection of Water Vapor *

Mechanisms of Summertime Subtropical Southern Indian Ocean Sea Surface Temperature Variability:... It is well known that some austral summertime subtropical Indian Ocean sea surface temperature (SST) variability correlates with rainfall over certain regions of Africa that depend on rainfall for their economic well-being. Recent studies have determined that this SST variability is at least partially driven by latent heat flux variability, but the mechanism has not been fully described. Here, the mechanism that drives this SST variability is reexamined using analyses of operational air–sea fluxes, ocean mixed layer modeling, and simple atmospheric boundary layer physics. The SST variability of interest is confirmed to be mainly driven by latent heat flux variability, which is shown, for the first time, to be mainly caused by near-surface humidity variability. This humidity variability is then shown to be fundamentally driven by the anomalous meridional advection of water vapor. The meridional wind anomalies of interest are subsequently found to occur when the subtropical atmospheric anticyclone is preferentially located toward one of the sides (east/west) of the basin. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Climate American Meteorological Society

Mechanisms of Summertime Subtropical Southern Indian Ocean Sea Surface Temperature Variability: On the Importance of Humidity Anomalies and the Meridional Advection of Water Vapor *

Journal of Climate , Volume 20 (19) – May 23, 2006

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Publisher
American Meteorological Society
Copyright
Copyright © 2006 American Meteorological Society
ISSN
1520-0442
DOI
10.1175/JCLI4271.1
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

It is well known that some austral summertime subtropical Indian Ocean sea surface temperature (SST) variability correlates with rainfall over certain regions of Africa that depend on rainfall for their economic well-being. Recent studies have determined that this SST variability is at least partially driven by latent heat flux variability, but the mechanism has not been fully described. Here, the mechanism that drives this SST variability is reexamined using analyses of operational air–sea fluxes, ocean mixed layer modeling, and simple atmospheric boundary layer physics. The SST variability of interest is confirmed to be mainly driven by latent heat flux variability, which is shown, for the first time, to be mainly caused by near-surface humidity variability. This humidity variability is then shown to be fundamentally driven by the anomalous meridional advection of water vapor. The meridional wind anomalies of interest are subsequently found to occur when the subtropical atmospheric anticyclone is preferentially located toward one of the sides (east/west) of the basin.

Journal

Journal of ClimateAmerican Meteorological Society

Published: May 23, 2006

References