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Eddy-wind interaction in the California Current System: Dynamics and impacts

TitleEddy-wind interaction in the California Current System: Dynamics and impacts
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsSeo H, Miller AJ, Norris J.R
JournalJournal of Physical Oceanography
Date Published2016/02
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0022-3670
Accession NumberWOS:000372706700001
KeywordsAtm/Ocean Structure/ Phenomena; Atmosphere-ocean; bulk parameterization; eastern equatorial pacific; Ekman pumping; heat-budget; interaction; interannual variability; locally weighted; Mesoscale eddy; Models and modeling; ocean models; ocean-atmosphere interaction; regional coupled model; Regional models; regression; satellite-observations; sea-surface temperature

The summertime California Current System (CCS) is characterized by energetic mesoscale eddies, whose sea surface temperature (SST) and surface current can significantly modify the wind stress and Ekman pumping. Relative importance of the eddy-wind interactions via SST and surface current in the CCS is examined using a high-resolution (7 km) regional coupled model with a novel coupling approach to isolate the small-scale air-sea coupling by SST and surface current. Results show that when the eddy-induced surface current is allowed to modify the wind stress, the spatially averaged surface eddy kinetic energy (EKE) is reduced by 42%, and this is primarily due to enhanced surface eddy drag and reduced wind energy transfer. In contrast, the eddy-induced SST-wind coupling has no significant impact on the EKE. Furthermore, eddy-induced SST and surface current modify the Ekman pumping via their crosswind SST gradient and surface vorticity gradient, respectively. The resultant magnitudes of the Ekman pumping velocity are comparable, but the implied feedback effects on the eddy statistics are different. The surface current-induced Ekman pumping mainly attenuates the amplitude of cyclonic and anticyclonic eddies, acting to reduce the eddy activity, while the SST-induced Ekman pumping primarily affects the propagation. Time mean-rectified change in SST is determined by the altered offshore temperature advection by the mean and eddy currents, but the magnitude of the mean SST change is greater with the eddy-induced current effect. The demonstrated remarkably strong dynamical response in the CCS system to the eddy-induced current-wind coupling indicates that eddy-induced current should play an important role in the regional coupled ocean-atmosphere system.

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