Multi-year satellite observations of instability waves in the Tropical Atlantic Ocean

Caltabiano, A.C.V.; Robinson, I.S.; Pezzi, L.P.. 2005 Multi-year satellite observations of instability waves in the Tropical Atlantic Ocean. Ocean Science, 1 (2). 97-112.

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Instability waves in the tropical Atlantic Ocean are analysed by microwave satellite-based data spanning from 1998 to 2001. This is the first multi-year observational study of the sea surface temperature (SST) signature of the Tropical Instability Waves (TIW) in the region. SST data were used to show that the waves spectral characteristics vary from year-to-year. They also vary on each latitude north of the equator, with the region of 1° N, 15° W concentrating the largest variability when the time series is averaged along the years. Analyses of wind components show that meridional winds are more affected near the equator and 1° N, while zonal winds are more affected further north at around 3° N and 4° N. Concurrent observations of SST, wind, atmospheric water vapour, liquid cloud water, precipitation rates and wind were used to suggest the possible influence of these waves on the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). It seems that these instabilities have a large impact on the ITCZ due to its proximity of the equator, compared to its Pacific counterpart, and the geography of the tropical Atlantic basin. These analyses also suggest that the air-sea coupling mechanism suggested by Wallace can also be applied to the tropical Atlantic region.

Item Type: Publication - Article
ISSN: 1812-0792
Additional Keywords: sea surface temperature, satellite, topical instability waves, tropical Atlantic
Date made live: 22 Nov 2005 +0 (UTC)

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