Observations of marine atmospheric boundary layer transitions across the summer Kuroshio extension

Youichi Tanimoto, Shang Ping Xie, Kohei Kai, Hideki Okajima, Hiroki Tokinaga, Toshiyuki Murayama, Masami Nonaka, Hisashi Nakamura

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52 Citations (Scopus)


The baiu and Kuroshio Extension (KE) fronts, both zonally oriented and nearly collocated east of Japan, are the dominant summertime features of the atmosphere and ocean, respectively, over the midlatitude northwest Pacific. An atmospheric sounding campaign was conducted on board the R/V Roger Revelle during the 2005 summer. Transects of soundings across the KE front are analyzed to study its effects on the atmosphere, along with continuous surface meteorological and ceilometer cloud-base observations. While the KE front remained nearly stationary during the cruise, the baiu front displayed large meridional displacements that changed wind direction across the KE front. The presence of sharp sea surface temperature (SST) gradients anchored by the KE enhanced the thermal and moisture advection, causing substantial changes in the marine atmospheric boundary layer (MABL) structure. When the baiu front was displaced north of the KE front, southwesterly winds advected warm, humid air from the subtropics over the cold water, producing a surface inversion favorable to fog formation.When the baiu front was to the south, on the other hand, northerly winds across the KE front destabilized the MABL, leading to the formation of a solid low-cloud deck beneath a strong capping inversion. The wind changes with the meridional displacement of the baiu front thus caused large variations in near-surface atmospheric stability and surface turbulent heat fluxes, with potential feedback on deep convection and fog/low-cloud formation around the front.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1360-1374
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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