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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-2018-52
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 17 Jul 2018

Research article | 17 Jul 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Earth System Dynamics (ESD).

North Pacific subtropical sea surface temperature frontogenesis and its connection with the atmosphere above

Leying Zhang1,2, Haiming Xu1, Jing Ma1, Ning Shi1, and Jiechun Deng1 Leying Zhang et al.
  • 1Collaborative Innovation Center on Forecast and Evaluation of Meteorological Disasters (CIC-FEMD)/Key Laboratory of Meteorological Disaster, Ministry of Education (KLME)/Joint International Research Laboratory of Climate and Environment Change (ILCEC), Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology, Nanjing 210044, China
  • 2Joint Innovation Center for Modern Forestry Studies, College of Biology and Environment, Nanjing Forestry University, Nanjing 210037, China

Abstract. The frontogenesis of the North Pacific subtropical sea surface temperature front (NPSTF) occurring from October to the following February is examined quantitatively based on the mixed-layer energy budget equation, with a focus on its connection with the atmosphere above. Diagnosis results show that the net heat flux dominates the frontogenesis from October to December, while the meridional temperature advection in the ocean contributes equally as or even more than the net heat flux in January and February. The atmosphere is critical to the frontogenesis of the NPSTF, including the direct effect of the net heat flux and the indirect effect through the Aleutian low. Further analyses demonstrate that the latent heat flux (the shortwave radiation) dominates the net heat flux in October (from November to February). The meridional temperature advection in the ocean is mostly owing to the meridional Ekman convergence, which is related to the Aleutian low. Climatologically, the strengthening and southward migration of the Aleutian low from October to the following February are characterized by the acceleration and southward shift of the westerly wind to the south, respectively, which can drive southward ocean currents. Correspondingly, the southward ocean currents give the colder meridional advection to the north of the NPSTF in January and February, favoring the frontogenesis. In addition, the Aleutian low plays a role in transforming the dominant effect of the net heat flux to the joint effect of the meridional temperature advection and the net heat flux in January. CESM1.0.3 model with a slab ocean model further confirms the important influence of the atmosphere on the frontogenesis and on the meridional temperature advection.

Leying Zhang et al.
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Data sets

A reanalysis of Ocean Climate Using Simple Ocean Data Assimilation J. A. Carton and B. S. Giese https://doi.org/10.1175/2007MWR1978.1

The ERA-interim reanalysis: configuration and performance of the data assimilation system D. P. Dee, S. M. Uppala, A. J. Simmons, P. Berrisford, P. Poli, S. Kobayashi, U. Andrae, M. A. Balmaseda, G. Balsamo, P. Bauer, P. Bechtold, A. C. M. Beljaars, L. van de Berg, J. Bidlot, N. Bormann, C. Delsol, R. Dragani, M. Fuentes, A. J. Geer, L. Haimberger, S. B. Healy, H. Hersbach, E. V. Hólm, L. Isaksen, P. Kållberg, M. Köhler, M. Matricardi, A. P. McNally, B. M. Monge-Sanz, J.-J. Morcrette, B.-K. Park, C. Peubey, P. de Rosnay, C. Tavolato, J.-N. Thépaut, and F. Vitart https://doi.org/10.1002/qj.828

The NCEP Climate Forecast System S. Saha, S. Nadiga, C. Thiaw, J. Wang, W. Wang, Q. Zhang, H. M. van den Dool, H. L. Pan, S. Moorthi, D. Behringer, D. Stokes, M. Pena, S. Lord, G. White, W. Ebisuzaki, P. Peng, and P. Xie https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI3812.1

Objectively Analyzed air-sea heat Fluxes for the global ice-free oceans (1981–2005) L. Yu and R. A. Weller https://doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-88-4-527

Model code and software

Impacts of northern Tibetan Plateau on East Asian summer rainfall via modulating midlatitude transient eddies J. C. Deng, H. M. Xu, N. Shi, L. Y. Zhang, and J. Ma https://doi.org/10.1002/2017JD027034

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Short summary
Net heat flux dominates the frontogenesis of the NPSTF from October to December, while oceanic meridional temperature advection contributes equally as or even more than net heat flux in January and February. The atmosphere is critical to the frontogenesis by net heat flux and Aleutian low. Aleutian low benefits meiridional temperature advection, and the transforming from the dominant effect of net heat flux to the joint effect of meridional temperature advection and net heat flux in January.
Net heat flux dominates the frontogenesis of the NPSTF from October to December, while oceanic...
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