Catalina Eddy as revealed by the historical downscaling of reanalysis

TitleCatalina Eddy as revealed by the historical downscaling of reanalysis
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsKanamitsu M, Yulaeva E., Li H.Q, Hong S.Y
JournalAsia-Pacific Journal of Atmospheric Sciences
Date Published2013/08
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number1976-7633
Accession NumberWOS:000323737100006
Keywords10 km; 57-year california reanalysis; american regional reanalysis; card10; Catalina Eddy; diurnal variation; dynamics; eddies; Kelvin waves; marine layer; numerical-simulation; sea breeze; vorticity

Climatological properties, dynamical and thermodynamical characteristics of the Catalina Eddy are examined from the 61 years NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis downscaled to hourly 10 km resolution. The eddy is identified as a mesoscale cyclonic circulation confined to the Southern California Bight. Pattern correlation of wind direction against the canonical Catalina Eddy is used to extract cases from the downscaled analysis. Validation against published cases and various observations confirmed that the downscaled analysis accurately reproduces Catalina Eddy events. A composite analysis of the initiation phase of the eddy indicates that no apparent large-scale cyclonic/anti-cyclonic large-scale forcing is associated with the eddy formation or decay. The source of the vorticity is located at the coast of the Santa Barbara Channel. It is generated by the convergence of the wind system crossing over the San Rafael Mountains and the large-scale northwesterly flow associated with the subtropical high. This vorticity is advected towards the southeast by the northwesterly flow, which contributes to the formation of the streak of positive vorticity. At 6 hours prior to the mature stage, there is an explosive generation of positive vorticity along the coast, coincident with the phase change of the sea breeze circulation (wind turning from onshore to offshore), resulting in the convergence all along the California coast. The generation of vorticity due to convergence along the coast together with the advection of vorticity from the north resulted in the formation of southerly flow along the coast, forming the Catalina Eddy. The importance of diurnal variation and the lack of large-scale forcing are new findings, which are in sharp contrast to prior studies. These differences are due to the inclusion of many short-lived eddy events detected in our study which have not been included in other studies.

Short TitleAsia-Pac. J. Atmos. Sci.
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