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The signature of mesoescale eddies on the air-sea turbulent heat fluxes in the South Atlantic Ocean

Grant number: 15/20102-8
Support type:Regular Research Grants - Publications - Scientific article
Duration: November 01, 2015 - April 30, 2016
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Oceanography
Principal Investigator:Olga Tiemi Sato
Grantee:Olga Tiemi Sato
Home Institution: Instituto Oceanográfico (IO). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:08/58101-9 - Impact of the Southwestern Atlantic Ocean on South American climate for the 20th and 21st centuries, AP.PFPMCG.TEM

Abstract

By collocating 10 years (1999-2009) of remotely sensed surface turbulent heat fluxes with satellite altimetry data, we investigate the impact of oceanic mesoscale eddies on the latent and sensible heat fluxes in the South Atlantic Ocean. In strongly energetic regions, such as the Brazil-Malvinas confluence and the Agulhas Current Retroflection, eddies explain up to 20% of the total variance in the surface turbulent heat fluxes with averaged anomalies of ± (10-20) W/m2. Cyclonic (anticyclonic, respectively) eddies are associated with negative (positive) heat flux anomalies that tend to cool (warm) the marine atmospheric boundary layer. A composite analysis of the turbulent heat flux anomalies inside the eddies reveals a direct relationship between eddy amplitude and the intensity of such anomalies. In addition, these anomalies are stronger near the eddy center, decaying radially to reach minimum values outside the eddies. (AU)