Atmospheric circulations induced by a midlatitude SST front: A GCM study


Brachet, Sidonie, Francis Codron, Yizhak Feliks, Michael Ghil, Hervé Le Treut, and Eric Simonnet. 2012. “Atmospheric circulations induced by a midlatitude SST front: A GCM study.” Journal of Climate 25 (6): 1847–1853.
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The atmospheric effects of sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies over and near western boundary currents are a matter of renewed interest. The general circulation model (GCM) of the Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique (LMD-Z) has a zooming capability that allows a regionally increased resolution. This GCM is used to analyze the impact of a sharp SST front in the North Atlantic Ocean: two simulations are compared, one with climatological SSTs and the other with an enhanced Gulf Stream front. The results corroborate the theory developed previously by the present team to explain the impact of oceanic fronts. In this theory, the vertical velocity at the top of the atmospheric boundary layer has two components: mechanical and thermal. It is the latter that is dominant in the tropics, while in midlatitudes both play a role in determining the wind convergence above the boundary layer. The strengthened SST front does generate the previously predicted stronger ascent above the warmer water south of the front and stronger descent above the colder waters to the north. In the GCM simulations, the ascent over the warm anomalies is deeper and more intense than the descent.

Last updated on 07/27/2016