GFDL - Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory

Publication 8302

Lanzante, J., 1983: A further assessment of the association between
sea-surface temperature gradient and the overlying mid-tropospheric
J. Phys. Oceanogr., 13, 1971-1974.


The local association between ocean and atmosphere was examined statistically
by correlating the anomalous sea surface temperature (SST) gradient and the
anomalous geostrophic wind at the 700 mb level using 30 years (1949-78) of
monthly data. Under the assumption that anomalous oceanic thermal
gradients are transmitted to the lower troposphere via anomalous fluxes of
latent and sensible heat, and by applying the thermal wind relationship, a
significant positive correlation is expected. This analysis is an extension
of earlier work by Harnack and Broccoli and includes results for both the
Atlantic and Pacific, for both zonal and meridional components, for lags as
well as contemporaneous associations, and includes an examination of spatial
variability. The major findings are: 1) the expected association is found
in both oceans and for both components, although it is somewhat stronger in
the Pacific and when relating the zonal wind to the meridional SST gradient,
2) the best association is found in the zonal band of 35-45oN,
although some seasonal variability is experienced in the Pacific, 3) the lag
relationships are significant only at zero lag or with atmosphere leading
ocean and 4) the effect of the association is enhanced by time averaging
(over 3 months).