Oceanic eddy-driven atmospheric secondary circulation in the winter Kuroshio Extension region
Title: Oceanic eddy-driven atmospheric secondary circulation in the winter Kuroshio Extension region
Journal: Journal of Oceanography, doi: 10.1007/s10872-016-0403-z
Authors: CHEN L. -J., Y. -L. Jia*, and Q. -Y. Liu
Abstract:In the winter Kuroshio Extension region, the atmospheric response to oceanic eddies is studied using reanalysis and satellite data. The detected eddies in this region are mostly under the force of northwesterly wind, with the sea surface temperature (SST) anomaly located within the eddy. By examining the patterns of surface wind divergence, three types of atmospheric response are identified. The first type, which occupies 60%, is characterized by significant sea surface wind convergence and divergence at the edge and a vertical secondary circulation (SC) aloft, supporting the “vertical momentum mixing mechanism”. The SCs on anticyclonic eddies (AEs) can reach up to 300 hPa, but those on cyclonic eddies (CEs) are limited to 700 hPa. This can be explained by analyzing vertical eddy heat transport: When northwesterly wind passes the warmer center of an AE, it is from the cold to warm sea surface, resulting in stronger evaporation and convection, triggering stronger upward velocity and moist static heat flux. For the cases of CEs, the wind blows from warm to cold, which means less instability and less evaporation, resulting in weaker SCs. The second type, which occupies 10%, is characterized by divergence and a sea level pressure anomaly in the center, supported by the “pressure adjustment mechanism”. The other 30% are mostly weak eddies, and the atmospheric variation aloft is unrelated to the SST anomaly. Our work provides evidence for the different atmospheric responses over oceanic eddies and explains why SCs over AEs are much stronger than those over CEs by vertical heat flux analysis.