SST-induced surface wind variations over the Brazil-Malvinas confluence: Satellite and in situ observations

Hiroki Tokinaga, Youichi Tanimoto, Shang Ping Xie

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The confluence of the Brazil-Malvinas Currents maintains strong sea surface temperature (SST) fronts in the midlatitude southwestern Atlantic year-round. SST effects on near-surface stability and surface wind variations are examined in this region using satellite and in situ datasets. Satellite observations show strong (weak) surface wind speeds over the warm Brazil (cold Malvinas) Current. A novel feature of this study is the construction of a high-resolution surface meteorological dataset that is based on historical ship observations. Analysis of this new in situ dataset reveals an increased (reduced) sea-air temperature difference over the Brazil (Malvinas) Current, indicating destabilization (stabilization) in the atmospheric boundary layer. These results are consistent with the SST-induced vertical mixing mechanism for wind adjustment. The SST effect on the near-surface atmosphere is observed both in the climatology and on interannual time scales in the Brazil-Malvinas confluence. Along a zonal SST front at 49°S northeast of the Malvinas/Falkland Islands, there is a collocated line of surface wind divergence, with moderate convergence to the north. Vertical mixing does not explain this divergence pattern because the prevailing surface winds are westerly, blowing in parallel with the front. An additional mechanism is proposed for boundary layer wind adjustment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3470-3482
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1 2005
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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