Air-Sea Interaction

The Atmosphere and the Ocean form a coupled system, exchanging heat, momentum and water at the air-sea interface. On the long term, the convergence/divergence of oceanic heat transport provide source/sinks of heat for the atmosphere and partly shape the mean climate of the Earth. Understanding and analyzing to which extent the Atmosphere and the Ocean actually 'feel' each other is the subject of large scale air - sea interactions.

Air-sea interaction is studied in PAOC using observations, theory and numerical models.

Although less widely appreciated by the public than El Nino and the Southern Oscillation, Atlantic air-sea interactions are currently the subject of intense research, to which PAOC contributes significantly. Two strong climatic signals exist in the atmosphere over the Atlantic sector:

The North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO)
Tropical Atlantic Variability (TAV)

Both the NAO and TAV phenomena are associated with large-scale anomalies in sea surface temperature (SST). Research is being carried out in PAOC to understand:

If the atmosphere is sensitive to SST, and
If ocean circulation can impact these SST patterns, thereby potentially leaving its imprint on climate.


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