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Gridded QuikSCAT data has been used to show that a strong confluence zone of the Southeast Pacific Intertropical Convergence Zone (SITCZ) existed in 2000 – 2002 during boreal spring, and the Panama wind jet contributes to its variability. Time series analysis of winds off the Gulf of Panama and convergence advection into the Southern Hemisphere (from 80W to 95W) show these winds kept the SE Trades out of the Northern Hemisphere and created a confluent zone in the Southern Hemisphere. A monthly averaged SITCZ is maintained by the deceleration of the SE Trades that flow from warm water toward the equatorial cold tongue, creating a speed convergent zone south of the equator. Images of wind trajectories show zonally orientated SE Trade winds that were deflected from a divergent zone parallel to the coast of South America converge with more meridional Trades over warm waters. Panamanian winds crossed into the Southern Hemisphere to contribute to this convergence. It is hypothesized that this confluent zone can be intensified by the Panamanian winds. In 2002, the SITCZ confluent zone occurred with more intense Panamanian gap flow than the previous two years. Cross equatorial SE Trades wrapped anti-cyclonically around a divergent pocket in the Northern Hemisphere and became southward winds, which allowed the Panamanian winds to enter the Southern Hemisphere and intensify the SITCZ. Variability in the Panamanian winds makes a substantial contribution to the evolution of the SITCZ.
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Meteorology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science.
Includes bibliographical references.
James J. O’Brien, Professor Directing Thesis; Mark. A. Bourassa, Committee Member; Guosheng Liu, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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