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Presented in this research is an examination of the energy transfer between the atmosphere and the ocean via the surface energy fluxes. Typically, air-sea processes are modeled using general circulation models (GCMs) fraught with difficulties arising from numerical approximation of the theory in an attempt to align the models with global observations. As a result, GCMs are not generally able to resolve atmosphere or ocean processes to the higher resolutions required to effectively model regional phenomena. The increase in availability of regional observations has improved regional models, and subsequently caused the gap between observations and GCM model output to become a glaring problem for small scale, localized phenomena. The use of regional models, however, requires analysis tools capable of resolving signals spanning the spectrum of both large and small scale processes while preserving temporal and spatial localization of the different phenomena. Put forth herein is a wavelets-based method for analyzing the output from a high resolution air-sea model system to examine energy transfer between the atmosphere and the ocean. The model system is comprised of observed sea surface temperature data forcing the WRF-ARW atmospheric model. Energy exchange between the atmosphere and ocean is examined through the evolution of three-dimensional surface fluxes estimated by a turbulent heat flux model. Specifically, the latent and sensible heat fluxes are separated into large and small scale variability via wavelets-based windowing. The use of wavelets-based analysis is preferred because of the need to preserve spatial and temporal localization. The end result is the characterization of each heat flux in space and time, for both large and small scale variability. Heat flux variability is then related to large and small scale changes in the atmosphere and ocean.
Turbulent Heat Fluxes, Surface Energy Budget, Wavelets
Date of Defense
December 9, 2008.
A Dissertation submitted to the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Institute in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Carol Anne Clayson, Professor Directing Dissertation; Eric Chicken, Outside Committee Member; Mark Bourassa, Committee Member; Phil Cunningham, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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