Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 104, Issue 3–4, pp 387–401 | Cite as

Net air–sea surface heat flux during 1984–2004 over the North Pacific and North Atlantic oceans (10°N–50°N): annual mean climatology and trend

  • Gen Li
  • Baohua RenEmail author
  • Jianqiu Zheng
  • Chengyun Yang
Original Paper


Using the Objectively Analyzed air–sea Fluxes dataset (and also the National Oceanography Centre Southampton Flux Dataset v2.0), we examined both the annual mean climatology and trend of net air–sea surface heat flux (Q net) for 1984–2004 over the North Pacific and North Atlantic oceans (10°N–50°N). The annual mean Q net climatology shows that oceans obtain the positive Q net over much of the North Pacific and North Atlantic oceans. Exceptions are the regions of western boundary currents (WBCs) including the Kuroshio and its extension off Japan and the Gulf Stream off the USA and its extension, where oceans release lots of heat into the atmosphere, mainly ascribed to the large surface turbulent heat loss. The statistically significant negative Q net trends occurred in the WBCs, while the statistically significant positive Q net trends appeared in the central basins of Northern Subtropical Oceans (CNSOs) including the central basin of Northern Subtropical Pacific and the central basin of Northern Subtropical Atlantic. These indentified Q net trends, which are independent of both El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and ENSO Modoki but closely related to global warming forcing, are predominately due to the statistically significant surface latent heat (LH) trends. Over the WBCs, the positive LH trends are mainly induced by the sea surface temperature increasing, indicating the ocean forcing upon overlying atmosphere. In contrast, over the CNSOs, the negative LH trends are mainly caused by the near-surface air specific humidity increasing, indicative of an oceanic response to overlying atmospheric forcing.


Latent Heat North Atlantic Ocean Sensible Heat International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project Atlantic Cold Tongue 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors would like to thank two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments. The work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 40975029, 40675028, and 40810059005) and the National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars of China (Grant No. 40725016). The OAFlux dataset is provided by the WHOI OAFlux project. The NOCS v2.0 dataset is from the Research Data Archive (RDA) which is maintained by the Computational and Information Systems Laboratory (CISL) at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gen Li
    • 1
  • Baohua Ren
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jianqiu Zheng
    • 1
  • Chengyun Yang
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Earth and Space SciencesUniversity of Science and Technology of ChinaHefeiChina

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