SCIENCE APPLICATIONS INC MCLEAN VA OCEAN SCIENCE DIV
A one-dimensional model of the tropical atmosphere consisting of conservation equations for heat, moisture, momentum and mass is constructed and used to investigate the effect of sea surface temperature perturbations on the local thermodynamic characteristics of the marine boundary layer in the summertime Western Atlantic trade wind regime. The height of the trade wind inversion and the thickness of the atmospheric mixed layer are found to be little affected by changes of sea surface temperature in the range that would be produced by Ocean Thermal Power Plants. The surface fluxes of long-wave radiation, short-wave radiation, and sensible heat are practically unaffected by these small changes in the sea surface temperature or by changes in the intensity of the cumulus convection. The surface latent heat flux taken positive downward, however, varies linearly with the sea surface temperature and is strongly coupled to the intensity of the cumulus convection. If the maximum tolerable change in the surface evaporation rate is taken to be at -5, the maximum allowable OTPP-generated sea surface temperature perturbation is about -0.2C.