GA Tech Ocean Science and Engineering Presents Dr. Jie He, GA Tech School of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences
Quantifying Air-sea Interactions in the Tropics
It has been long recognized that the atmosphere and ocean interact in a two-way fashion: while variations in the ocean surface drive changes in the atmosphere, atmospheric variability also originates from atmospheric intrinsic dynamics, which acts as a stochastic forcing of the ocean. The two components are inherently mixed in nature, and as a result, neither process can be easily understood from a coupled atmosphere-ocean system. This has created a challenge in interpreting the observed air-sea relationships and in simulating air-sea interactions in climate models.
Here, I will show that the ocean induced and atmospheric intrinsic variability can be cleanly dissected with targeted uncoupled atmosphere-only simulations. This uncoupled framework provides an ideal tool for developing a process-based understanding of tropical air-sea interactions and for diagnosing model biases. I will use the uncoupled framework to shed light on some important aspects of tropical convection and its interaction with the SST. I will show that convection sensitivity to SST variability is predominantly determined by the local climatological SST and that this relationship is consistent with the basic principles of moist static stability.
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