Imprint of Southern Ocean eddies on winds, clouds and rainfall

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Author(s) Frenger, I., Gruber, N., Knutti, R., Munnich, M.
Publication Type Journal Items, Publication Status: Published
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Title Imprint of Southern Ocean eddies on winds, clouds and rainfall
Author(s) Frenger, I.
Gruber, N.
Knutti, R.
Munnich, M.
Journal or Series Title Nature Geoscience
Volume Number 6
Issue Number 8
Start Page 608
End Page 612
ISSN 1752-0894
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Publication Place New York, NY, USA
Publication Date 2013
Abstract Owing to the turbulent nature of the ocean, mesoscale eddies are omnipresent. The impact of these transitory and approximately circular sea surface temperature fronts on the overlying atmosphere is not well known. Stationary fronts such as the Gulf Stream have been reported to lead to pronounced atmospheric changes(1,2). However, the impact of transient ocean eddies on the atmosphere has not been determined systematically, except on winds and to some extent clouds(3-6). Here, we examine the atmospheric conditions associated with over 600,000 individual eddies in the Southern Ocean, using satellite data. We show that ocean eddies locally affect near-surface wind, cloud properties and rainfall. The observed pattern of atmospheric change is consistent with a mechanism in which sea surface temperature anomalies associated with the oceanic eddies modify turbulence in the atmospheric boundary layer. In the case of cyclonic eddies, this modification triggers a slackening of near-surface winds, a decline in cloud fraction and water content, and a reduction in rainfall. We conclude that transient mesoscale ocean structures can significantly affect much larger atmospheric low-pressure systems that swiftly pass by at the latitudes investigated.
DOI 10.1038/NGEO1863
Document Type Article
Publication Status Published
Language English
Assigned Organisational Unit(s) 03731
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Source Database ID WOS-000322441900009
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  author = "Frenger, I. and Gruber, N. and Knutti, R. and Munnich, M.",
  title = "{I}mprint of {S}outhern {O}cean eddies on winds, clouds and rainfall",
  journal = "Nature Geoscience",
  year = 2013,
  volume = "6",
  number = "8",
  pages = "608--612",

E-Citations record created: Mon, 02 Sep 2013, 13:05:47 CET