Coronavirus Information for the UC San Diego Community

Our leaders are working closely with federal and state officials to ensure your ongoing safety at the university. Stay up to date with the latest developments. Learn more.

Dynamics on seasonal variability of EKE associated with TIWs in the Eastern Equatorial Pacific Ocean

TitleDynamics on seasonal variability of EKE associated with TIWs in the Eastern Equatorial Pacific Ocean
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsWang M.Y, Du Y., Qui B., Xie SP, Feng M
Date Published2019/06
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0022-3670
Accession NumberWOS:000472677000001
Keywordsconvergence; eddies; energetics; Kelvin waves; long waves; numerical-model; oceanography; oscillations; sea-surface temperature; tropical instability waves; wind

Energetic mesoscale eddies (vortices) associated with tropical instability waves (TIWs) exist in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean between 0 degrees and 8 degrees N. This study examines the seasonal variations in eddy kinetic energy (EKE) of TIWs using in situ and satellite observations and elucidates the underlying dynamical mechanisms. The results reveal that the cross-equatorial southerly winds are key to sustaining the high-level EKE (up to similar to 600 cm(2) s(-2)) from boreal summer to winter in 0 degrees-6 degrees N and 155 degrees-110 degrees W. Because of the beta effect and the surface wind divergence, the southerly winds generate anticyclonic wind curls north of the equator that intensify the sea surface temperature (SST) fronts and force the downwelling annual Rossby waves. The resultant sea surface height ridge induces strong horizontal current shears between 0 degrees and 5 degrees N. The intensified current shears and SST fronts generate EKE via barotropic and baroclinic instabilities, respectively. To the extent that the seasonal migration of a northward-displaced intertropical convergence zone intensifies the southerly winds north of, but not south of, the equator, our study suggests that the climatic asymmetry is important for the oceanic eddy generations in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean-a result with important implications for coupled climate simulation/prediction.

Student Publication: