Sensitivity of Offshore Surface Fluxes and Sea Breezes to the Spatial Distribution of Sea-Surface Temperature

Kelly Lombardo, Eric Sinsky, James Edson, Michael M. Whitney, Yan Jia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

A series of numerical sensitivity experiments is performed to quantify the impact of sea-surface temperature (SST) distribution on offshore surface fluxes and simulated sea-breeze dynamics. The SST simulations of two mid-latitude sea-breeze events over coastal New England are performed using a spatially-uniform SST, as well as spatially-varying SST datasets of 32- and 1-km horizontal resolutions. Offshore surface heat and buoyancy fluxes vary in response to the SST distribution. Local sea-breeze circulations are relatively insensitive, with minimal differences in vertical structure and propagation speed among the experiments. The largest thermal perturbations are confined to the lowest 10% of the sea-breeze column due to the relatively high stability of the mid-Atlantic marine atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) suppressing vertical mixing, resulting in the depth of the marine layer remaining unchanged. Minimal impacts on the column-averaged virtual potential temperature and sea-breeze depth translates to small changes in sea-breeze propagation speed. This indicates that the use of datasets with a fine-scale SST may not produce more accurate sea-breeze simulations in highly stable marine ABL regimes, though may prove more beneficial in less stable sub-tropical environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)475-502
Number of pages28
JournalBoundary-Layer Meteorology
Volume166
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science

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