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An Investigation of Turbulent Heat Exchange in the Subtropics

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The long-term goal is to improve our understanding of heat and moisture exchange in the tropics through direct estimates of the fluxes and their related mean variables. The flux of heat across the coupled boundary layers is primarily accomplished by small-scale processes that are parameterized in numerical models. The ultimate goal is to improve the Navy s predictive capabilities in the tropics through an improved understanding of the processes driving the Madden-Julian Oscillation MJO. The primary objective of this research is to improve the surface flux parameterization for latent and sensible heat used in these models and observational process studies. We will collaborate with researchers from NCAR, NOAAETL, Oregon State University, and other institution to investigate the relationship between boundary layer structure and surface forcing during an MJO event. This will be accomplished through measurements collected from a research vessel that conducted surveys during two 30-40 cruises to investigate air-sea interaction during periods when conditions are favorable for MJO formation Madden and Julian, 1994. The measurement will include surface meteorological and atmospheric vertical structure and collaboration with numerical modelers and other observational components of the program. The principle hypothesis of this research is that improved observations and parameterizations of latent and sensible heat fluxes, which is a primary source of energy for these convective systems, will improve our ability to simulate and predict the MJO.

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  • Atmospheric Physics
  • Thermodynamics

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