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Weather and Climate Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/wcd-2020-19
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/wcd-2020-19
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 27 May 2020

Submitted as: research article | 27 May 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal WCD.

The role of heat flux-temperature covariance in the evolution of weather systems

Andrea Marcheggiani and Maarten H. P. Ambaum Andrea Marcheggiani and Maarten H. P. Ambaum
  • Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, Reading, UK

Abstract. Local diabatic heating and temperature anomaly fields need to be positively correlated for the diabatic heating to produce work in the atmosphere. Here we quantify the thermodynamic contribution of local air-sea heat exchange on the evolution of weather systems using an index for the spatial covariance between heat flux at the air-sea interface and air temperature at 850 hPa upstream of the North Atlantic storm track, broadly corresponding with the Gulf Stream extension region. The index is found to be almost exclusively negative, indicating that the air-sea heat fluxes locally act as a sink on potential energy. It features bursts of high activity alternating with longer periods of lower activity. The characteristics of these high index bursts are studied through composite analysis and the mechanisms are investigated in a phase space spanned by two different index components. It is found that the negative peaks in the index correspond with thermodynamic activity triggered by the passage of a weather system over a spatially variable sea-surface temperature field; our results indicate that most of this thermodynamically active heat exchange is realised within the cold sector of the weather systems.

Andrea Marcheggiani and Maarten H. P. Ambaum

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Status: open (until 21 Jul 2020)
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Andrea Marcheggiani and Maarten H. P. Ambaum

Andrea Marcheggiani and Maarten H. P. Ambaum

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Latest update: 07 Jul 2020
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Short summary
In this paper, we investigate air-sea interaction by looking at the relationship between spatial variability in surface heat flux and air temperature. We observe that their interaction characterizes different stages of storm evolution thus providing a new perspective on the role played by air-sea heat exchange.
In this paper, we investigate air-sea interaction by looking at the relationship between spatial...
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