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Air-sea turbulent heat flux feedback over mesoscale eddies

Moreton, S., Ferreira, D. ORCID:, Roberts, M. and Hewitt, H. (2021) Air-sea turbulent heat flux feedback over mesoscale eddies. Geophysical Research Letters, 48. e2021GL095407. ISSN 0094-8276

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1029/2021GL095407


Air-sea turbulent heat fluxes play a fundamental role in generating and dampening sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies. To date, the turbulent heat flux feedback (THFF) is well quantified at basin-wide scales (~20 W/m2/K) but remains unknown at the oceanic mesoscale (10-100~km). Here, using an eddy-tracking algorithm in three configurations of the coupled climate model HadGEM3-GC3.1, the THFF over mesoscale eddies is estimated. The THFF magnitude is strongly dependent on the ocean-to-atmosphere regridding of SST, a common practice in coupled models for calculating air-sea heat flux. Our best estimate shows that the mesoscale THFF ranges between 35 and 45 W/m2/K globally, across different eddy amplitudes. Increasing the ratio of atmosphere-to-ocean grid resolution can lead to an underestimation of the THFF, by as much as 80\% for a 6:1 resolution ratio. Our results suggest that a large atmosphere-to-ocean grid ratio can result in an artificially weak dampening of mesoscale SST anomalies.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:100649
Publisher:American Geophysical Union


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