A coupled ocean‐atmosphere model of relevance to the ITCZ in the eastern Pacific


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The intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) stays in the northern hemisphere over the Atlantic and eastern Pacific, even though the annual mean position of the sun is on the equator. To study some processes that contribute to this asymmetry about the equator, we use a two‐dimensional model which neglects zonal variations and consists of an ocean model with a mixed layer coupled to a simple atmospheric model. In this coupled model, the atmosphere not only transports momentum into the ocean, but also directly affects sea surface temperature by means of wind stirring and surface latent heat flux. Under equatorially symmetric conditions, the model has, in addition to an equatorially symmetric solution, two asymmetric solutions with a single ITCZ that forms in only one hemisphere. Strong equatorial upwelling is essential for the asymmetry. Local oceanic turbulent processes involving vertical mixing and surface latent heat flux, which are dependent on wind speed, also contribute to the asymmetry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)340-350
Number of pages11
JournalTellus A
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1994

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography
  • Atmospheric Science


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