Movie showing surface winds and ocean currents from a global coupled ocean-atmosphere simulation at km-scale resolution. © NASA Ames/JPL, Hector Torres

The traditional view is that the atmosphere forces the ocean at large scale (> 500 km). Recent advance in high performance computing has enabled the development of global coupled ocean-atmosphere models at high-resolution (i.e. mesoscale-resolving and submesoscale-permitting in the ocean, cf image above). The analysis of these models reveal a paradigm change; the ocean forces the atmosphere at scales < 400 km in terms of latent heat flux, cloud and precipitation.  As a result, ocean (sub)mesoscale can energize atmospheric storms and impact extreme weather events. Understanding these relations and teleconnections is a main research focus of our group.

Research by our group focuses on:

  • (Sub)mesoscale momentum and heat fluxes at the air-sea interface
  • Ocean (sub)mesoscale impact on atmospheric dynamics (e.g. humidity, storms and extreme weather events)
  • Strengthening of ocean mesoscale eddies by atmospheric dynamics

To address these topics, we use the following data:

  • COAS – Coupled Ocean Atmosphere Simulation ran at NASA/JPL on a global scale at a km-scale resolution in both the ocean and the atmosphere
  • Remote sensing data (e.g. SWOT – Surface Water Ocean Topography – observations of sea surface height coupled with QUICKSCAT observations of surface winds and AMS-R observations of sea surface temperature)
  • In situ data (e.g. NASA S-MODE campaign)

Relevant publications:

  • Torres, H., Klein, P., Strobach, E., Thompson., A.F., Siegelman, L., Menemenlis, D. and Molod, A. Atmospheric response to ocean mesoscale eddies in a high-resolution global coupled simulation. (in prep)
  • Strobach, E., Mishra, A.K., Jangir, B., Ziv, B., Sun, R., Siegelman, L., Meroni, A.N., Klein, P. The impact of Mediterranean mesoscale eddies on precipitations on land. (in revision)