The partitioning of the poleward energy transport between the tropical ocean and atmosphere

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Abstract

The mass transport in the shallow, wind-driven, overturning cells in the tropical oceans is constrained to be close to the mass transport in the atmospheric Hadley cell, assuming that zonally integrated wind stresses on land are relatively small. Therefore, the ratio of the poleward energy transport in low latitudes in the two media is determined by the ratio of the atmospheric gross static stability to that of the ocean. A qualitative discussion of the gross stability of each medium suggests that the resulting ratio of oceanic to atmospheric energy transport, averaged over the Hadley cell, is roughly equal to the ratio of the heat capacity of water to that of air at constant pressure, multiplied by the ratio of the moist- to the dry-adiabatic lapse rates near the surface. The ratio of oceanic to atmospheric energy transport should be larger than this value near the equator and smaller than this value near the poleward boundary of the Hadley cell.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)943-948
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Volume58
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 15 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science

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